Google's Schmidt: Relationship with Apple improving after 'lots and lots' of meetings

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Relations between mobile superpowers Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) have improved in recent months said Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, explaining the two companies have conducted "lots and lots" of meetings over the past year.

Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt

Eric Schmidt

Speaking to media at the annual Allen and Co. conference in Sun Valley, Idaho on Thursday, Schmidt said Google and Apple are in "constant business discussions on a long list of issues," Reuters reports. Schmidt declined to discuss specifics about the nature of the meetings but said Google Chief Business Officer Nikesh Arora, who joined him at the event, leads many of the discussions.

Schmidt once sat on Apple's board of directors but resigned in August 2009, roughly a year after Google launched its open-source Android mobile operating system to challenge Apple's proprietary iOS. Google and Apple are now locked in a two-horse race to dominate the mobile ecosystem: Research firm IDC recently reported that manufacturers shipped 162.1 million Android smartphones during the first quarter of 2013, a 79.5 percent year-over-year spike--the Google OS accounted for 75 percent of all shipments during the period, up from 59.1 percent in the first quarter of 2012. Apple posted its largest-ever first quarter volume with iPhone shipments of 37.4 million, up 6.6 percent from 35.1 million a year ago. However, iOS market share declined year-over-year from 23 percent to 17.3 percent and experienced lower year-over-year shipment growth than the overall smartphone market.

As competition between Android and iOS has grown, Apple has taken steps to reduce its reliance on core Google services, most notably dumping built-in Google Maps and YouTube software with the fall 2012 release of its iOS 6 platform update. Apple has struggled to replace Google Maps with its own Apple Maps platform, which has been sharply criticized by consumers for missing and erroneous information, while Google responded to the ouster by developing standalone Google Maps and YouTube apps for iOS, both available for download from Apple's App Store.

In addition to its mobile and desktop services, Google is also extending its brand into emerging technology segments like wearable computers and self-driving automobiles. During the Allen & Co. event, Schmidt said that self-driving cars are just years away from commercial availability but that "the exact way in which it all plays out is not obvious to me… The technology has to be right. The regulation has to be right. The partnerships have to be right." He added that Google has held meetings with "every single car company."

For more:
- read this Reuters article

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