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Schmidt: Google deathmatch with Apple is 'defining' for the tech biz

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Google and Apple are in the "defining fight" of the tech industry today, the advertising firm's chief modestly reckons.

Mountain View chairman Eric Schmidt is expecting more than a billion smartphones running Android around the world within a year and he reckons that's gonna tick the fruity firm off even more than it is already.

“We’ve not seen platform fights at this scale,” he said in an interview with AllThingsD.

Apple and Google used to be best buds, both merrily sticking it to Microsoft and other old-guard tech firms as their popularity rose. Schmidt was even on Apple's board when he was CEO at Google. But since Google brought Android into the lucrative phones'n'fondleslabs market, the one-time friends have been at each other's throats.

Although the fruity firm has never slung patent mud directly at Google, it's taken pretty much every manufacturer which uses the Android OS to court and has ended up fighting the internet giant anyway now that Google owns Motorola.

Schmidt said that these patent battles just make him really, really sad.

“These patent wars are death,” he sniffed. “I think this is ultimately bad, bad for innovation. It eliminates choices.”

The head fandroid also commiserated with his top rival over its crap Maps app.

“Apple should have kept with our maps,” he gloated.

"I think Apple has learned that maps are hard. We invested hundreds of millions of dollars in satellite work, airplane work, drive-by work, and we think we have the best product in the industry.”

Schmidt said that of course Google would be willing to come to the rescue with a version of its own Maps that would work on IOS 6, but that Cupertino would have to give the nod:

“I don’t want to pre-announce products, but I can tell you that were we to do that Apple would have to approve it,” he said. ®

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