Google’s Eric Schmidt Talks Apple Partnership, Samsung And Patent Problems

Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt is in Seoul attending the launch of the Nexus 7 in Korea Thursday, and he’s been very talkative on a number of topics, as he was in Tokyo earlier in the week. This time around, he spoke out about patent problems, the search giant’s relationship with Apple, and Samsung at a launch event at the Grand Intercontinental Seoul.

“Literally patent wars prevent choice, prevent innovation and I think that is very bad,” Schmidt said, according to a report from the Korea Times. “We are obviously working through that and trying to make sure we stay on the right side of these issues. So ultimately Google stands for innovation as opposed to patent wars.”

“I think one of the worst things that happened in the last few years has been the belief that somehow there are so many patents in the mobile phone world, an estimated 200,000 patents that are overlapping and complicated and so forth, that one vendor can stop the sale of another vendor’s phones or devices,” he added.

Schmidt was keen to note that Apple actually remains “a very good partner,” however, adding that the “two companies are literally talking all the time about everything.”

As for Samsung, Schmidt reiterated that he would be meeting with the top Samsung brass, as we reported yesterday, noting that the Korean electronics maker is “one of our most important customers and there is much to discuss.”

Patent disputes are definitely on the table, and now that the iPhone 5 is out and has been added to the mix, there’s even more reason for Samsung and Google to get their strategy together. The fact that Google is now actually less of a partner to Apple than it has been in the past, since Google Maps and YouTube no longer ship pre-installed on iOS 6 devices, could theoretically have an effect on Google’s role in the ongoing dispute between Samsung and Apple.

Schmidt also addressed issues surrounding iOS Maps earlier in the week, noting that Google had not yet “done anything” with respect to submitting a standalone Google Maps application. From an outside perspective, it would seem that tensions could be at an all-time high between the two companies, but Google still sees major incoming mobile search revenue from Apple’s platform, and its apps are among some of  the most frequently downloaded and used in the iOS App Store.