Google’s executive chairman expressed the headline’s sentiment during a discussion with Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher of All Things D at New York’s 92 Y yesterday evening. Schmidt’s comments varied from scripted to candid when discussing his Silicon Valley competitors and Google’s innovative products such as driverless cars.(Google’s Street Views Car, pictured at left, is currently on display at Mountain View’s Computer History Museum)
Schmidt leveled his harshest criticism at Microsoft, a company he excludes from his list of four major industry players (Google, Apple, Amazon and Facebook). He said, “They’re well-funded, but they haven’t been able to bring out state-of-the-art products in key areas. Let’s see what their new set of products does.”
Yet Schmidt sympathized with HP‘s recent struggles, describing his friend Meg Whitman as a “capable CEO.” He noted, while enterprise businesses once had lots of time develop various strategies, they’re now under considerably more pressure to find solutions to pressing problems as quickly as possible.
Schmidt also cut Facebook some slack, saying that “with a billion users, they can find ways to make money.” While acknowledging Facebook’s enormous database of registered users, he also pointedly noted, “Google wants more registered users, but we’re not forcing customers to sign up.”
Schmidt also lauded Twitter for doing “an excellent job of celebrity branding” while referring to the many stars who have used the platform to expand their followings and expressed hope that Google+ might one day become a key competitor.
Despite Schmidt’s widely quoted critiques about Apple’s inferior iPhone maps, he saved his highest praise for his main rival. “Apple did a phenomenal job of building integrated solutions and they did a tremendous job with tablets.” He also emphasized that Apple has more cash. He said that Apple “still has a special place in his heart”, which makes sense–Schmidt once served on Apple’s Board and had a close personal relationship with Steve Jobs.