Google Vs AppleJust last week, I wrote about the Google+ VP verbally taking on Facebook. One of Google’s largest competitors, Apple, is now in the crosshairs of someone even more important than Bradley Horowitz: Eric Schmidt. Schmidt is the Executive Chairman of Google – right under CEO Larry Page – and he recently had a few things to say about the business relationship between Google and Apple.

Complaints from Schmidt

In an interview late yesterday, Schmidt spoke a great deal about the current relationship between Google and Apple. According to Charles Cooper at CNet, Schmidt took the opportunity to “gob-smack Apple around just a bit.” While not exactly directly criticizing Apple, Schmidt commented on the two companies’ recent relations.

Schmidt called the relationship between the companies “on and off,” and one headline titled it “Apple v Google is a cold war, not a riot.” He expressed disappointment that Apple took YouTube off the iPhones and iPads and ditched their maps (for a totally inferior product).

Patent Wars

Painting Apple as the aggressor in the years-long international patent war seems to be Schmidt’s way of indirectly criticizing Apple. As Chris Davies at SlashGear notes, Schmidt is concerned that start-ups will struggle to “be able to get the patent coverage necessary to offer version one of their product.”

Schmidt even went as far to say that the “adult way to run a business” (aka “Apple, you’re not playing like adults”) was to operate like states. Disputes are normal, but continued trade and openness will help both nations or, in the case, companies.

Lastly, Schmidt was quoted as saying that it’s “extremely curious” that Apple has decided only to sue Google’s business partners involved in Android smartphones, instead of taking on Google itself. It’s as if Schmidt is calling out Apple with the good ol’ fashioned “pick on somebody your own size” criticism.

Valid Points? Definitely

I think Schmidt has a great point: the patent wars between the two companies are pretty ridiculous. They stifle innovation, and they threaten start-ups before they even start up, as Schmidt mentioned. It also sets a terrible precedent for patent use. Patents are designed to protect products, not to use as a weapon to go after competitors.

Designers borrow from products all the time. They don’t literally copy 100% of something, but they get inspiration and ideas from other products. That’s the way product design has been for hundreds of years. I don’t see Apple’s case, and it looks like they are being a bit childish in their aggressive patent lawsuits. They have one of the strongest brands in the country, and they have billions in cash on hand. A product that emulates your design means you should make an even better one – not kick, scream and yell.

Mobileis going to be another huge market for agencies and small business. Yesterday I wrote about the increasing number of companies devoted to mobile advertising and mobile data analysis. The faster Apple and Google develop the technology needed to allow more and more people to adopt smartphones, the sooner this market will get closer to being as practical and useful as computer-based internet marketing and advertising are today. Apple should be looking forward, not behind, to move progress along.

What do you think of the ongoing patent wars between Google and Apple?