You can usually rely on ex-CEO of Google (and current chairman) Eric Schmidt for a few good soundbites, but the exec's appearance at D9 was jam-packed with them. Schmidt opened by dismissing Microsoft as a player in the current platform war - which he says is now between a "gang of four" consisting Google, Apple, Amazon and Facebook, with PayPal and Twitter potentially hovering outside - describing the software giant as no longer "driving the consumer revolution."
As for where Google fits with those three key rivals, Schmidt says the search company has "tried very hard to partner with Facebook" and that the social network has "done a number of things which I admire." He's particularly keen on how Facebook handles user-identity, with the imminent +1 for websites launch described as "not directly" chasing the social network but obviously an attempt to build Google's social strategy. Nonetheless, Schmidt says he takes the blame for Google's slow reaction to online identity, saying he recently dug out a four year old memo saying the company must address the issue but that "I failed to do it." "A CEO should take responsibility" he admits, "I screwed up."