Sun Valley: Google's Eric Schmidt Discusses Apple Rivalry

Christopher Patey
Eric Schmidt

Like Apple CEO Tim Cook, the executive chairman of the Internet giant is attending the annual Allen & Co. mogul retreat, but Google CEO Larry Page didn't make the trip.

Google has "a lot of respect" for Apple, and the relationship between the two tech powerhouses has improved, the Internet search giant's executive chairman Eric Schmidt told reporters at the annual Allen & Co. media and technology mogul gathering in Sun Valley.

The companies were locked into an extended dispute about mobile software on Apple's iPhone last year when Apple put its own mapping solution onto the device instead of Google's. The firms have also increasingly competed in other product areas, including computers and online services. Some Silicon Alley observers had described the tech giants' relationship as a "cold war."

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Schmidt, who sat on Apple’s board until 2009, said: "These are two proud, well-run, different companies." He added that "we're sort of in constant, constant business discussions on a long list of issues," but wouldn't detail the topics of debate, according to Bloomberg News.

While Schmidt talked to reporters, Apple CEO Tim Cook walked by, according to Bloomberg. Nikesh Arora, Google's chief business officer, called him over by yelling: "Tim, everybody here wants to take your picture!" Cook complied but didn't talk to members of the press.

"We got Tim to smile -- always a good thing," Bloomberg quoted Schmidt as saying.

Meanwhile, the New York Times reported that Schmidt is joined in Sun Valley by Arora and Salar Kamangar, CEO of its online video destination YouTube.

But Google CEO Larry Page didn't make the trip to the Idaho retreat this year, it said. He previously announced that he has a chronic problem that affects his vocal cords and breathing.