Google's Schmidt comes to praise Apple, Facebook, Microsoft

The Wall Street Journal ran a video interview with Google CEO Eric Schmidt earlier today and Mr Schmidt is obviously an honourable man, for he came not to diss Apple nor Facebook but to praise them.

Schmidt, who left the board of Apple last year because of “overlaps”, was asked whether Apple had changed the name of the game, and Facebook too.

Schmidt said that iPad apps are very beautiful but very very closed. The social revolution is a search problem. How do you know how to spend your time and where to spend your attention? Web search is not the only game in town.

And Apple? It is a very well respected close system competitor. He said that there was every reason to believe that Google can create great open applications.

For they are honourable companies, he continued. “We don’t consider Apple or Facebook to be competitors. Our competitor is Bing. It’s a well run, highly competitive search engine.” For Ballmer and Microsoft are honourable.

No doubt, he said, Facebook is a company of consequence. “Apple is the extreme expression of a closed system,” he said. And honourable.

And Steve Jobs? An honourable man. Schmidt said that Steve is a brilliant leader and a brilliant CEO. But folk underestimate the “tremendous effect of Android”. It’s better to be underestimated. It’s better to be surprising.

Schmidt said he’d rather not announce [Facebook like products] that aren’t shipping yet, so announcing it.

Although governments are filled with honourable people, privacy legislation is often simplistic, Schmidt said. Google wants to give users as much control as they want and will give people more control.

Although the PRC is no doubt full of honourable people, when Google entered China “it was n the edge”.  Google said it felt being in China would help modernise China. But the censorship roles increased.

Schmidt, asked about Mark Hurd’s move to Oracle and the subsequent law suit introduced by HP were not something he knew very much about.

But, he said, his heart goes out to an HP engineer who now discovers that his CEO is now working for Sun. “There’s clearly something wrong,” he said. His heart also goes out to Barack Obama, president of the USA, who he supported as president. The politics right now are vicious, he said.

The WSJ video is here.