INTERNET GIANT Google's executive chairman Eric Schmidt has said that the ongoing battle between Apple and Google for supremacy in the mobile industry is the only fight that matters, dismissing Microsoft and Blackberry.
Speaking at the Allthingsd conference on Wednesday, Schmidt said that as the two firms wrestle for control of the mobile market, the overall winners will be end users.
"The Android-Apple platform fight is the defining fight in the industry today," he said. "We've not seen platform/networks fights at this scale. The beneficiary is you guys [consumers]. Prices are dropping rapidly. That's a wonderful value proposition."
The comment underlines the adversarial relationship that has grown between the two firms over the last few years.
Schmidt used to sit on Apple's board but as the two firms' rivalry grew rapidly he stepped down, while former Apple CEO Steve Jobs was furious with Android, which he saw as a copy of the IOS mobile operating system.
This has led to numerous high-profile patent lawsuits between Apple and Google's Handset Alliance manufacturing partners using Android, notably Samsung, over issues of device design and software features.
Schmidt said that he found the patent battles upsetting, calling them "death" for the industry.
"Software is always overlapping. There are estimates [that] there are some 200,000 patents that cover devices in the market, so we are seeing fight after fight based on prior art and in every case there is some prior art that invalidates a patent," he said.
"This is bad for innovation for the software industry, it eliminates choice."
Schmidt also discussed some of the firm's other rivals and on the subject of Microsoft's attempt to fight back in the mobile market with Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 he said he was unsure how it would pan out.
"Let's see what this new set of products does. Everyone I know has moved to the Mac in that space, so we will see how that plays out," he said.
"They are a well-funded, smart, well-run company but they have not been able to bring out state-of-the-art products in the spaces we are talking about."
Microsoft has a lot riding on its Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 operating system launches later this Autumn, while Apple is reportedly set to unveil an Ipad Mini device in a few weeks to compete with devices like the Galaxy Nexus 7 tablet built by Asus and unveiled by Google earlier this year. µ
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