Eric Schmidt

Google held an event in Tokyo yesterday entitled Google Mobile Revolution. Former CEO Eric Schmidt was the speaker and hit on everything from the explosive growth of Android to the Apple/HTC patent issue.

Concerning the growth of its mobile operating system Schmidt said that he expects Android to be the most popular platform in Asia due to lower prices brought about by increased competition. Asia boasts some of the world’s fastest growing economies; this, coupled with the booming populations of these nations make the possibilities for adoption endless. Quoting Schmidt:

“Every month, China and India are adding 10 million mobile subscribers and we expect to see amazing growth in markets with lower penetration rates such as Indonesia and the Philippines.”

The patent issues were also brought up, which Google hasn’t commented on much thus far. Friday represents a potential blow to the Android platform as it was ruled that HTC infringed on 2 of Apple’s patents. Schmidt remarked:

"We have seen an explosion of Android devices entering the market and, because of our successes, competitors are responding with lawsuits as they cannot respond through innovations. I’m not too worried about this.”

This is very similar language to what Larry Page said on the his most recent earnings call regarding patents. However, Schmidt was also asked directly about the HTC/Apple issue and whether Google would help HTC’s legal bills. His response:

“We will make sure they don’t lose, then.”

What exactly Google’s plans are regarding support for its OEMs remains to be seen, but it’s good to see a Google executive comment directly on the case. There's no doubt that Android is being attacked mainly due to its success. Its growth outlook, particularly in the Asian continents represents exponential growth, which will only invite more lawsuits. It's pretty safe to say that Google has invested heavily in Android and won't let it or its OEMs go anytime soon.

Source: ZDNet Asia


Reader comments

Eric Schmidt comments on Android growth and the patent situation


Apple is suing because of android's success. They know they can't compete anymore and will try to ban them so they can win. Apple has copied a lot of manufacturers and can't own up to it. They just copied the android notification system. I've always hated apple, but google go fuck apple

Because google is making a killing their market share is rising at an astounding rate and just keeps going up. The other companies are losing share that is why are they trying to stunt android. I think you will see google get on the offensive in the next few months/years to combat these companies.

Let's be honest, Google, like many companies, knew what they were doing. They included the technology in Android in hopes these lawsuits would invalidate them. Unfortunately for Google, they're new at this game and it's not working out that way. Now they're reduced to accusing competitors of not innovating and being jealous and some are complaining that the patent system is broken. Bitching is not going to make Google's troubles go away. The solution is to start innovating and build up your IP portfolio so you have something to bring to future fights. In meantime, stop stealing other companies IP because you're putting your manufacturing partners in the sites of the big guns like Apple (the real innovator), Microsoft and Oracle. You played yourself Google!

The patent system in the US is broken, however. It doesn't matter what side of the fence you're on, the system places an undue burden on all companies. What was intended to protect inventors and encourage innovation has been turned into a weapon to stifle competition (and as a consequence innovation). Do you honestly think the iPhone would have half its features if it weren't for stiff competition? We've seen what happens when competition dies: you get junk like Windows ME.

Apple isn't immune to falling victim of patent abuse, either. Nokia just extracted a hefty sum from them, and iOS app developers are being sued by (or jumping ship from the US market because of) patent trolls. In the end, the only ones who suffer are consumers.

Now tell me again that patent law (at least when software is involved) isn't borked?

Complaining about the state of the patent system is not the issue. Google's disregard for other company's IP is. Their stupidity was in creating a free OS without licensing the underlying technology. Building a successful platform on stolen IP has consequences for Google, their partners and customers. They and not the patent holders, are responsible for any harm to the consumer. 

Your premise is based on an unproven assumption, namely that Google has "stolen IP". What IP would that be? Do people really think that Apple has exclusive right to market rectangular shaped slate touchscreen phones? All the things that make Android cool are aspects that are completely different than iOS, while the things they share are pretty limited and mundane. I'm so tired of the Apple defenders pretending that Android is a copy of iOS. It's not. It's much much better.

We'll start with multitouch pinch and zoom, those in the HTC and Apple case, Microsoft and HTC deal and the 800 lb Gorilla case with Oracle, in which we'll soon get final verdict.

Like it or not Android is a derivative based on the iPhone and IOS. I don't care how different it looks. We all know it wasn't their idea! Every piece of tech Introduced in the iPhone ends up on Android devices, and that's not saying Apple invented it, but their implementation is copied: accelerometer, proximity sensor, gyroscope, magnetometer, introduced NFC chips after hearing the rumors of it coming to the iPhone, push notifications, etc. Even the products Apple introduces are copied by Google: iPhone, iOS, App Store, IPad and Apple TV. The resulting Android derivative is generally inferior: it's sluggish, jerky, buggy, crash prone, UI is poorly implemented and the list goes on. I'm sure whatever is introduced in iPhone 5 and iOS will show up on Android. See the pattern of imitating Apple. Shameful.

It's silly to think or say Apple has a patent on the rectangle and I'm sure that's not Apple's intent. However, designing products around the shape that are unique to distinguish it from the competition and protecting it with a patent is what all companies do. It's their trade dress. Without this protection anyone can use it as their own, and that way they don't have to work as hard to create a competitive product. This is true in the case of Samsung and I'm sure others are out there.

Uh, stop... look, research -- before you attempt to reply.

Android LLC was founded in 2003 to create a "new OS for phones". Google purchased them in 2005.

Apple released their smartphone in Summer 2007. Google demo'd Android in Sept 2007. The problem is, the world did not "recognize" the need for smartphones for the average consumer; Blackberry appeared to have the market cornered, with Palm as #2.

The Apple Marketing Machine invaded, and now all the non-educated masses believe Apple "invented" the smartphone -- just like they "invented" the MP3 player (even though I owned an Archos years before Apple released the iPod).

No, Apple did not innovate or create anything - they made **MINOR** improvements to existing methodologies - then marketed them to the masses as if they invented them.

Now, ignorant folks (like you) act like everyone is copying Apple.

Research: The top 10 new features for iOS5... have been available to other Smartphones for several *YEARS*.

Who cares when Android LLC was founded! The fact is, the resulting Google Android OS is nowhere near that earlier product. It morphed into a poorly implemented copy of iOS. Eric Schmidt served on Apple's board and had access to the iPhone during its developement. He stole Apple's design and applied it to Android. Android would have been a clone of the Blackberry otherwise. 

Apple invented the Newton and introduced it back in 1987 and created the PDA industry! It was also Apple's first tablet computer. Smartphones are a combination of a phone and a PDA. The iPhone is the evolution of the Newton with the phone added. Apple took it's invention, made it better and consumers love it. Now the market is flooded with inferior Android copies. Apple not only innovates, they invent! 

You need to think for yourself because you're repeating the same nonsense circulating among the uninformed-brainwashed Android crowd. 

Your argument completely overlooks the fact that Android does not, in fact, "look like" iOS. They actually look and behave quite differently. There are concepts shared, such as the "Pinch to Zoom", but Apple didn't invent that either. Saying that Google copied Apple in the design of the iPhone is silly considering that Android was in development for years before the iPhone was released.

There are actually several items that Apple has begun copying from Android over the past year or two. Namely "Multi-tasking", which iOS just implemented with version 4, but Android has had from the beginning. Apple didn't even do it as well, since my iPod battery goes dead three times as fast if I don't close all the apps after I let my 4-year-old play with it.

Some of the patents that Google is being sued over right now involve "Operating a touch screen with gestures". That's a *ridiculous* patent. Google may have been a bit brazen by assuming that they could fight the patent down in court, but it really *never* should have been issued in the first place. And, now, Apple is suing Samsung and Motorola because "their tablets look too much like an iPad, causing confusion in the market". Aka: "We don't want to believe that anyone would actually *want* to buy an Android tablet, so we're just going to claim that people are being tricked into buying them because they're rectangular and have touch screens." That's ludicrous. I'm really starting to wonder if Apple is just trolling because they know they can't compete, or if they really are that deluded.

Taking "concepts" and improving on them is common practice in all areas of manufacturing. If you have a good idea, and another company "copies" it and makes it a little different and their version sells better, then you should implement at least the same thing. Event better is to try and improve, again, on their idea. It's actually good for the market. It's called innovation. Going by your logic, we'd all be driving a Ford Model A26 right now with 50 horse power and a top speed of 32 mph. Competition and innovation are how we've ended up with pretty much everything we're using in our daily lives. Google is (and has always been) a company that is *very* focused on innovation and re-thinking old concepts. That's how they've grown to be one of the richest and most powerful companies on the planet. And I say more power to them. Apple is just having trouble dealing with the fact that they are unable to compete with Google's level of innovation.

Let's be honest, here: innovation has *never* been Apple's strong point. They build entire product lines around a single good idea. Their strong point is marketing. At least since the companies "re-invigoration" a few years back. And that's not to say that they didn't have some good ideas with the iPhone. They did. And they changed the cell phone landscape forever, for the better. Good for them. But look at the iPhone now versus an iPhone from 4 years ago and tell me, what's new? What have they really changed? Last year, they implemented multi-tasking (which Android has had for several years) and this year they're supposed to revamp the notification system (to work more like Android), but I'm really at a loss beyond that.

You sound like a zealot, regurgitating what you've heard from the Apple marketing/smear campaign. Once you get into "bash" mode like this, you're no longer contributing to the conversation in a meaningful way and that accomplishes nothing. The *single* actual point you've brought to bare is "Pinch and Zoom". Everything else in your posts are just talking points.

Apple has carried it's core idea that it builds its computers and OS's around, which is "Easy to Use" over to the iPhone is spades and I commend them for that. My father is an example of a man who really doesn't care enough to learn to use a more complicated phone. Not because it isn't intelligent, but simply because it isn't important to him. The iPhone is *made* for people like him. That said, here's a few ways Apple could stay competitive:

* Dump (or at least revamp) iTunes. It's *sooo* long in the tooth at this point is ridiculous. It takes hours to setup an MP3 library in iTunes from my existing MP3 files. And, then, I have to plug the thing in and hit "Sync" which takes another 30-45 minutes. Not to mention when my PC died last year, iTunes made me wipe my iPod when I got a new PC before I could load anything new onto it. I've really hardly used it since then.
* Make some more different models. They've got the different sizes kicking so that there's a model in a price range available to more people, but they're overlooking all the other specs. Some people want a physical keyboard. Some don't. Some like a huge screen (4.3", please) but some very much prefer Apple's 3.6 incher. They *must* give the public options. That, more than anything, is where Google is shoving Apple off the map: no matter what you like, or how you want to use the phone, there's a phone style out there to fit your tastes and your budget. If you get an iPhone, you're stuck with a 3.6" screen, with no physical keyboard, a glass front/back, single-core processor, 512mB of RAM, and you get to pick the amount of storage space based on how much you willing to spend.

Oh... *and* you can now choose between AT&T *or* Verizon. Really, Apple? How's that exclusivity thing working out for you? You really can't figure out why Google wiping the floor with you in market share?

Innovation? He has the nerve to talk about innovation all they did was copy the iPhone!! Apple should have been suing them long long time ago.

Its usually Microsoft copying Apple, but atleast they did an original design. Android feels alot like IOS.

What a jerk Eric Schmidt is!

look I will be the first to admit that in the begining Google was NOT an inovator, they BOUGHT android, However we are a long way from the original OS and in a short amount of time they have taken mobile computing (since lets be honest thats what it is at this point) to a new level. Apple on the other hand, while they make a GREAT product that a lot of people love and works really well (except for the iphone 4 on ATT) has not developed their OS nearly as much. Their inovation in hardware technology, design, and manfacturing has helped push the industry along but IOS4 has the same look and feel (with very minor changes in general front end UI) as the original IOS. I personally belive that if apple and google/OEM's could get over themselves and work together with apple's hardware and google's OS would make a great phone.

It was the first true smartphone. Phones they called smart phones before the iPhone was worthless and did nothing.

Sorry but you are incorrect! Palms were the 1st smart phones. Touch screens, widgets, icons that launched 3rd party apps etc. I had a Palm Treo years before the iphone was launched. For that matter Symbian phones and blackberrys were also "true smart phones" with third party apps. Apple copied so much from Palm that I am surprised that HP has not sued them.

Sorry but you are incorrect! Palms were the 1st smart phones. Touch screens, widgets, icons that launched 3rd party apps etc. I had a Palm Treo years before the iphone was launched. For that matter Symbian phones and blackberrys were also "true smart phones" with third party apps. Apple copied so much from Palm that I am surprised that HP has not sued them.

You are either a troll looking for attention writing all these comments from the basement of your parents house or you are truly an uninformed idiot.

Apple does not innovate, they imitate and Jobs has undeniably admitted to that during countless interviews. The iPhone is nothing new, they took an existing technology and put it in a pretty package and stamped their logo on it. Nothing in the iPhone is original. The most Apple has done is put lipstick on a pig and called it their own. Why do you think the iPhone 5 (or 4GS or whatever it will be called) is delayed? Why do you think Apple is demanding the courts to force Samsung and HTC to show them their new unreleased product so they can inspect it? Maybe to lift a few things off their new designs and put them into their next iPhone to TRY and get an advantage over them?

Last time I checked ios didn't have widgets or a real home screen. Androids gui is essentially linux with the additional desktops and the ability to fully customize it.

Apple can't claim a patent violation there.

well in IOS 5 they will. And you watch I bet apple will try and sue for that. Most likely they will try to patent it since they feel they invented everything. Where is Al Gore when you need him since he created the internet lmao.

Al Gore can't be here right now. He's at home turning up his heater to try and make his global warming comments valid.

He doesn't to. The vast majority of climate scientists are backing him up. Viva science. Death to anti-science.

Not to troll, here, but do check your facts. There are a number of scientists claiming that Al Gore misrepresented their findings.

The only thing even remotely similar is a touch screen and candy bar shape. That's it. Android doesn't look or feel like iOS, the OS isn't locked down, the hardware features vastly outclass iOS and Android is growing at a faster rate than the iPhone. This little law suit against HTC won't work. Microsoft is making $5 off the sale of every HTC Android Device, so you better believe they are helping HTC through the back door as well because it's not in Microsoft's best interest to see an HTC import ban.

Exactly, it's too much money involved for Htc to get banned!! their is no way that is happening. I expect Microsoft and Google to help.

Look, I'm a huge android fan, that being said I think that apple has a great product...its not for me but its still really nice. This whole patent thing is so broken its laughable at this point. EVERYONE has copied stuff from everyone else. Come on the patents that are in question are things that other companies and products have been doing since the early 90's. At best these patents are overly vague and should not have been awarded in the first place at worst they and the resulting suits are a tool to help cretail compitition.

And before anyone jumps on me about "ip rights" I am a photographer I completely feel that people should be compensated for intelectal property but claiming that your being damaged by one company for something that at this point has been done thousands of times in thousands of different ways is ludicrous, its like a photographer trying to claim copyrights for a gesture or a style (which is actually in court right now, and is equally laughable). Bottom line is there is there is a point where your patent has been "infringed" so many times and for so Long with no action taken that just like in legal cases they can argue inevitablediscovery technology should be the same way.

Wasn't it just last month that apple announced there new notification system that is identical to androids notifications? And Widgets? I guess its OK when apple jacks android

It's about time! I will argue Google jumped in here to support HTC because the OEM partner is patent-poor, unlike Samsung.

I want to caution Google here, as well. I have a feeling this is playing into Apple's hands. The distance between Google and OEM's is intentional. Removing that distance may pull Google into a mobile space tailspin.

But, it is good to hear Google emphatically join one of it's OEM's in staring Apple down!

Why has Apple not gone after Google? They haven't because Android is open source. The question that is left is "How do we get paid off of their free software that is globally kicking our butts? ".
Apples answer is to go after the hardware manufacturers that use the free Operating System in their hardware.

I think Apple also realizes that if they ever do want to take on Google, they need to first notch a couple successes against smaller companies (and Google's partners). If they attacked Google directly right off the bat and lost, they'd pretty much lose all recourse against the little guys. This way, even if they do ultimately go after Google and lose, they got something along the way.

You nailed it. Google was genius in that regard. Because they give Android away for free, and are not making money off the OS itself, they cannot be sued directly for infringing on patents. Brilliant. Therefore, Apple goes after the OEMs. In the end, however, HTC and Apple will settle, the way HTC did with MS, and pay out a few bucks for every device they sell.

Here's the current count, kids: For every five smartphones sold today... 1 is BB/WP7/Nokia/WebOS, 1 is an iPhone, 3 are Android.

Apple has become an also-ran. They need to sue. It's their only recourse.

Sounds like Google really stands behind their brand and everyone that represents it. I'm proud to be part of Android, they keep giving me updates and a full list of features I really like and really understand what's going on and show they are hear for the OEMs

When Google's rhetoric turns to action I will see this as interesting news. Otherwise, cue the increasing cadre of overpaid patent lawyers for the win.

I'm so ready for this appeal. HTC needs to win this appeal. I have an iPhone now (used to have an EVO until I switched to VZW) and I think all the patent trolling is getting ridiculous.

I expected Google to respond like this, well done!! Those patents are so vague any way I highly doubt Htc will lose and get banned, it aint happening! Apple is mad and scared of competition. Look how they want their iphone to look like Android phones and look at Htc's profits. Apple can't take it that someone else has come out of no where are are taking the marketshare.

I find it funny that all these posts are coming from people who all own a billion dollar company...right? Oh yeah, you don't! It's ignorant to say that none of you wouldn't do the same when you are considering billions of dollars are at stake. BILLIONS! It's two companies duking it out...that is all. Welcome to the 2011, this is what companies do. Of course everything here takes the side of Google and Android...because GOOGLE DIDNT COPY A SINGLE THING RIGHT? People's defense on this subject for Android is the most naive. Not that Apple isn't at fault either. But there is a difference when actually looking at this subject from a companies point of view rather than a fanboy's point of view who's other personal reasons cloud judgement.

So one has to be a billionaire to have an opinion on the actions and words of billionaires? Ridiculous.

Because of Android's success? Partially, yes, but more so because of their flagrant disregard of the numerous patents they violated. It's really, really hard to research patents during the design phase to see if your work is violating any, and then to negotiate deals with those that you need to use takes eons. With the US patent system so screwed up, it is easier these days to take the path that Google did and just violate them first and settle later. Just set aside a few hundred million in the budget for that (and Google probably did) and forge on ahead. We really need patent reform in this country !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Look at history if you want real context. Steve Jobs, not Apple, stole the MAC from Xerox. That's beyond dispute. When the Mac failed in the market he threw a tantrum & the company kicked him. NEXT was another flop. He took Unix/Linux & comprised it into a money scheme, sold it to Apple and re invented the mac right? Um no. Still a flop. Steve doesn't get his way and the lawsuits or tantrums begin. Apple had to settle with the Beatles and Apple Corp our risk losing control of the company after years of patent infringement. Now they go buying up patents left & right, including lte & 4g with the intent to lock others out of using it you can bet. Seriously folks do you think the wireless carriers will let Apple destroy their businesses? Apple needs them. They don't need Apple. Htc is a big player globally in the phone business. All those telcos have a vested interest in them surviving and/or thriving. Apple will be stopped by them. Bank on it.

It doesnt make any business sense for Google to do that. Google is a business, and more eyes on its products mean more ad views and more revenue.

It's funny how many people react to this Apple vs. Android thing like they were people and have feelings. They're businesses and they're both out to make a buck - that's all. Google makes money off of iOS and Android and Blackberry. Probably off of WP7 as well, to an extent.

I think people tend to forget why Google forged ahead with Android in the first place - so that they remain a dominant player in search and advertising in the mobile space and don't let any single company, such as Apple or Microsoft, have control over mobile and the ability to kick them out of the top spot in search. Everything goes back to Search.

Just as I have been saying all over the blog world HTC has nothing to worry about that manufacturer is here to stay. People spend to much time HATING I guess they should HTC has bolstered windows mobile and has further planted android on the map forever. Google/HTC/Sprint will always be the way to go in my world. Apple WILL NEVER COMPETE WITH EITHER they spend to much time trying to bring other manufacturers down when they are only trying to innovate which at the end of the day helps us the consumer. If your walking around with any apple products you seriously need to look at your self and ask why…


While it is good to hear that Google is supporting HTC, the absence of any concrete plans (that we know of) is a bit unsettling. While the patent system may be flawed, there really isn't much choice right now for them but to function according to its rules. I truly hope Google has something up its sleeve in the coming months.