Google's Schmidt: In patent war, won't somebody think of the children?

Apple and Google are sitting pretty amid the ongoing patent spats, Google chairman Eric Schmidt has insisted, claiming that the real victims of the IP war are start-ups unable to compete with the big boys. "Google is doing fine. Apple is doing fine" Schmidt told the WSJ, arguing that "the real consequence" is that fledglings to the industry will struggle to "be able to get the patent coverage necessary to offer version one of their product." Schmidt cites Android co-founder Andy Rubin and his former work with Danger as an example of what would, today, find it difficult to get off the ground.

"There's a young Andy Rubin trying to form a new version of Danger" Schmidt suggests. "How is he or she going to be able to get the patent coverage necessary to offer version one of their product?"

As for the tit-for-tat battle between Google and Apple, Schmidt claims some degree of bemusement by his Cupertino rival's actions. The relationship between the firms has "always been on and off" he says. "Obviously, we would have preferred them to use our maps. They threw YouTube off the home screen. I'm not quite sure why they did that."

However, while the idea of two huge companies at each other's throats makes for good headlines, the Google chair argues, it's not how businesses are really operated. "The adult way to run a business is to run it more like a country" Schmidt says. "They have disputes, yet they've actually been able to have huge trade with each other. They're not sending bombs at each other."

Apple's attention in the courtroom so far has been focused on manufacturers adopting Android, though, not Google itself, something Schmidt says is notable. "It's extremely curious that Apple has chosen to sue Google's partners and not Google itself" he highlights; so far, it's generally bean OEM modifications to Android that have raised Apple's ire, such as Samsung's TouchWiz interface, with the iPhone maker perhaps reluctant to engage Google in a direct legal battle.