Google CEO Eric Schmidt and Apple CEO Steve Jobs were spotted having coffee together in public at a shopping center in Palo Alto, Calif., March 26.
Some high-tech watchers saw this as a neutral-ground meeting designed to make the press think the companies’ animosity toward each other has cooled. Others wonder if some sort of genuine d??Â«tente is afoot.
Will the companies continue to work together, particularly with Apple’s much-ballyhooed iPad set to debut April 3?
Or did the leaders of two of the most powerful high-tech companies ever have other things to chat about? eWEEK doesn’t know, but we took light-hearted guesses.
Fair warning: These exchanges are completely fictional. This is a little pre-April Fool’s Day humor intended to make light of the psychoanalysis surrounding this not-so-surreptitious meeting of two brilliant minds.
1) Android versus iPhone
The rub of the contentious relationship between Google and Apple is the emergence of Google Android-based smartphones as a threat to Apple’s iPhone. Jobs reportedly scoffed at Google’s Don’t Be Evil motto and said Google wants to kill the iPhone.
Maybe he wanted to clear the air with Schmidt over this. Jobs: “I didn’t mean it. I mean, I did, but I didn’t mean for it to come out like that … Does Google really want to kill the iPhone?”
2) Schmidt says …
“Hell, no, Steve! You make the most popular smartphone on the planet and we make lots of cash from search ads served to users on those great gadgets. Why would we want to kill the iPhone?”
3) Or …
Jobs: “Well, Eric, this is the thing. We’re switching to Bing.” As in, Jobs wanted to inform Schmidt that Apple was indeed replacing Google with Microsoft Bing as the iPhone’s default search engine.
This might explain Schmidt’s slumped appearance, which body language experts speculated was an exhibition of submission. We don’t believe that psychobabble crap either, but, hey, people need something cool to talk about.
4) What Apple will sue Google for
Perhaps Jobs wanted to discuss his intentions toward Google in this regard: “Eric, the only reason we didn’t sue Google over the Nexus One is because you didn’t make the phone. But here’s what we will sue you all for …” You fill in the blank. Google doesn’t “make” the phones. Android is open source. What grounds would Apple have to sue Google?
5) AdMob-Quattro thang
Schmidt: “Sorry about that AdMob thing. If we had known the FTC was going to give us this much grief over it, we would never have bid on it.”
Jobs: “That’s okay. We’ve got Quattro Wireless. It’s no AdMob, but if you can’t get that company, we’ll pick it up, too.”
Schmidt: “But you’ve got Quattro!”
Jobs: “One can never have enough mobile ad market share.”
Schmidt fumes. Wasn’t that his line?
Schmidt and Jobs Chat
6) What’s this I hear about a location-sharing service?
Something crystallizes for Schmidt. Apple famously rejected Google Voice and Google Latitude as native iPhone applications, forcing Google to render its phone management and location-based tools as Web apps running on the iPhone. But evidence has surfaced that Apple is working on a few location-based services of its own.
The United States Patent & Trademark Office Dec. 31 published Apple’s location-sharing patent and position fix indicator patent, both of which describe functionality akin to what Google Latitude provides for users.
The Patently Apple site later discovered that Apple is working on iGroups, a social networking app intended to “allow groups of friends or colleagues attending such events as a concert, a trade show, business meeting, wedding or rally to stay in communication with each other as a group to share information or reactions to live events as they’re occurring.”
Isn’t that what Google Buzz for Mobile is for? It certainly can be. So, in this scenario, Schmidt asks Jobs about these moves. Jobs merely offers a smug shoulder shrug. Apple can’t let Google, Twitter and Facebook have all the location-sharing fun.
7) Google search on iPad?
Schmidt and Jobs huddle on how Google can fit on Apple’s iPad. While apple is promoting its own productivity apps for the iPaid, what about search? Perhaps Jobs also tells Schmidt Bing would be the default search engine.
If Apple is planning on going to Bing for the iPhone, wouldn’t it make sense to promote Bing on the iPad? This could be devastating for Google. The iPhone is a major driver of search traffic for Google and if the iPad ships 10 million units this year as some expect, Google would love to be the search service.
8) Google Chrome on iPad
Google would love to get its Google Chrome browser onto the iPad. While Google does make Chrome for Mac, the iPad OS is not a Mac OS, it’s an iPhone OS. Safari is the default Web browser for the iPad.
That makes Google SOL, or at least until Google releases Chrome OS on a tablet in 2011. Just spitballing there, but with the iPad imminent, you’d think Google has to answer.
Perhaps it was a personal chat, with Jobs advising (or consoling) Schmidt over his alleged mistress issues. Okay, we don’t really believe that either, but who knows? Unless you can find a fly on the table willing to talk, we’ll never know.
10) Making up is hard to do
Perhaps Schmidt and Jobs settled their companies’ differences and cleared the air on numerous fronts, agreeing to compete in some areas and collaborate in others.
So how is this “coopetition” any different from the current relationship? It isn’t, but perhaps Jobs and Apple will back off trying to run Android into the ground through lawsuits.
Isn’t iPhone versus Android great for the industry on the whole?