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Google and Apple's couples therapy is working – Schmidt

Eric: Aw shucks, Cookie, give us a smile!

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Google chair Eric Schmidt has said that his firm and Apple have learned how to get along a little better in the last year and have held "lots and lots" of meetings.

Schmidt told reporters at the Allen & Co media conference in Idaho that he has "a lot of respect" for the fruity firm, Bloomberg, Reuters and others reported.

While he was speaking, Apple boss Tim Cook walked by and Google's chief business officer, whom Schmidt said was handling many of the meetings with Cupertino, called out to him that the press wanted to take his picture.

"We got Tim to smile - always a good thing," Schmidt said as Cook allowed folks to take some snaps.

The top Googler used to sit on Apple's board before Mountain View and Cupertino's relationship soured in the wake of the ongoing patent wars over their smartphone businesses.

As things got more and more snippy between the two firms, Apple tried to move away from Google services, with mixed results. Its iPhones have stopped shipping with pre-installed YouTube, but when the firm tried to dump Google Maps, its own mapping service was riddled with errors and Mountain View ended up updating its app for the iDevice anyway.

But Schmidt said that while they were "two proud, well-run, different companies", they were trying to find some common ground.

"We’re sort of in constant, constant business discussions on a long list of issues," he claimed.

The Google chair also spoke about his firm's self-driving technology, saying that the product was years, not decades, away from commercial availability, although it wasn't sure exactly how it would come to market.

"The technology has to be right. The regulation has to be right. The partnerships have to be right," he said, adding that Google had talked to "every single car company". ®

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