Steve Jobs, Eric Schmidt Meet, Fuel Speculation

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2010-03-28 Print this article Print

Jobs-Schmidt Coffee.png

No, the photo above wasn't taken last summer, before Apple and Google began their duel for the mobile Web in earnest.

This pic of Apple CEO Steve Jobs and Google CEO Eric Schmidt was taken outside Calafia in the Town and Country shopping center in Palo Alto, Calif., Friday afternoon and sent to Gizmodo.

The pic was taken after Apple rejected Google Voice as an iPhone app in July, invoking the Federal Communications Commissions' scrutiny. But a lot more has happened since then.

Jobs threw Schmidt off of Apple's board last August. Google beat out Apple to attract AdMob for an acquisition in November, though that deal is in jeopardy by the government.

Google launched the iPhone-like Nexus One in January, prompting Jobs to later claim at a town hall meeting that same month that Google's "don't be evil" pledge is BS.

Apple earlier this month sued HTC because it claimed the HTC-built Nexus One and other Android gadgets infringed on iPhone patents.

There were other jousts in between, but the competitive strikes boil down to Google's increasing desire to challenge Apple for mindshare and market share on the mobile Web.

Did the companies' PR teams orchestrate this meeting?

Probably, or else why not just meeting in secret at the Googleplex in Mountain View or Apple HQ in Cupertino?

I'd like to think if Jobs really disliked Schmidt, as I've read, that he would hold the line on that one and choose not to be seen with him again.

But if "hate" was just more hyperbole for tabloid blog fodder, I'd then like to believe one called the other to at least put aside their competitive differences.

Whether Jobs felt betrayed by the Nexus One and Android or not, surely that shouldn't stop the companies from cooptition.

Better yet, maybe they addressed their competitive differences and moved forward to talk business, perhaps some deals for Google Apps on the forthcoming iPad.

I'm not holding my breath on that one, but I'd like to believe these two men and their companies can still work together. I'd love to have been a fly on the coffee table to hear what drew these two men together. Surely it wasn't to chat about Burning Man.

But that's mostly because I liked Google and Apple versus Microsoft. However, I also recognize Google and Apple have helped marginalize Microsoft's influence on the Web , recent share gains in Bing notwithstanding.

Perhaps Google and Apple really are the new Google and Microsoft or Apple and Microsoft, or at least a hybrid of the competitive dynamic between these two mortal enemies.

If that's the case, the competition should only get better for consumers, forcing each company to drive innovation at a faster pace, leading to more competitive prices and better deals for shoppers down the road.

Again, that's what I'd like to think. Of course, if it's scripted it's just more media manipulation, another in a long line of control experiments at which Apple has proven so adept. |

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