Eric Schmidt Sounds Off on How Google is Beating Apple, and Other Topics
December 13, 2012 6:15 PM
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Former CEO defends Google using Caribbean tax shelter
While Q3 smartphone sales numbers are slightly deceptive as the much-anticipated Apple, Inc. (
was yet to launch, it's hard to deny that Google Inc. (
) brightly outpaced its rival
in unit sales
, with Google's Android taking 72 percent of the market, versus a mere 14 percent for Apple. In a new interview, former Google CEO
says that equated to 1.3 million Android smartphones activated a day, a key to Google outselling its rival 5-to-1.
I. Google v. Apple == Microsoft v. Apple Computer?
He compares his company's war against Apple to Microsoft Corp.'s (
) successful campaign against Apple Computer back in the 1980s and 1990s. He
, "This is a huge platform change; this is of the scale of 20 years ago -- Microsoft versus Apple. We’re winning that war pretty clearly now."
To Eric Schmidt, the sales triumph is vindication of Google's decision to give away Android to third party OEMs, versus Apple's policy of zealously possessive in-house efforts. Comments Mr. Schmidt, "The core strategy is to make a bigger pie. We will end up with a not perfectly controlled and not perfectly managed bigger pie by virtue of open systems."
Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt claims Apple is repeating its own painful history.
[Image Source: The Sydney Morning Herald]
As for his company's and the general economy's outlook, he says he sees signs for optimism in the Chinese recovery. But he warns that
the so-called "fiscal cliff"
-- a series of automatic tax increases and spending cuts -- could kill a similar emerging recovery in the U.S.
He warns, "It will be tragic for the country if the sum of the government can’t resolve this. You can think of what’s going on as one set of special interests versus another, and a big fight and they all have to feel like they’ve been heard."
He sees Europe as another soft spot, saying that region will struggle to recover as southern nations like Spain, Italy, and Greece dangle on the edge of financial insolvency.
II. Schmidt on Gov't Regulation, Taxes
Mr. Schmidt defends his company's decision to shuffle $9.8B USD to a shell company in Bermuda
to escape $2B USD in taxes
from countries like the U.S., UK, France, and Australia.
He comments, "We pay lots of taxes; we pay them in the legally prescribed ways. I am very proud of the structure that we set up. We did it based on the incentives that the governments offered us to operate. It’s called capitalism. We are proudly capitalistic. I’m not confused about this."
Schmidt says nothing's wrong with Google using a tax shelter. [Image Source: Hook Worldwide]
On the topic of spectrum crunch, which AT&T, Inc. (
) and others
, Mr. Schmidt says it is a real problem, but that smart antennas may be able to help. He comments, "[True] all the modeling says the existing strategy will run out of cellular bandwidth in 2016 or 2017. [But] today you get dedicated bandwidth on your phone, and your phone doesn’t say, ’Ah ha! I can go over here or over up here.’ Smart radios can do that."
Google+ was also plugged by the former chief executive, which calls a "viable competitor to Facebook", thanks to its 100 million active users.
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RE: Uncle Eric lost in the Hall of Mirrors
12/14/2012 3:55:03 PM
First of all, the metrics I've seen tend to be focused on US e-commerce, which will usually be skewed more towards iOS than if you looked at the rest of the world.
Secondly, a lot of Android devices are crap to browse on - low end phones on inexpensive VERY limited data plans. That certainly doesn't mean that these people and their possible future purchases don't matter, though. That's an important mind-share and market-share to get for the future.
Third, (this is more personal observation) those on midrange or higher Android phones, I think, tend to have pretty similar usage patterns to someone with, say, an iPhone 5. I personally find the Galaxy SIII to be much nicer to interact with for things like web browsing than an iPhone thanks to it's larger, higher res. screen. The "mid range and higher" people are probably where the majority of the Android "hits" on websites come from.
For the near future, I think the percentage of mobile web browsing originating from Android phones will continue to increase at a rate that exceeds iPhone usage increases. A huge part of this is that the cheap "throw away" smart phones are starting to get good enough to actually be pleasant to use for these types of activities.
“So far we have not seen a single Android device that does not infringe on our patents." -- Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith
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