Google’s Eric Schmidt: Apple has learned maps are hard

Walt Mossberg, Kara Swisher and Eric Schmidt in conversation at the 92nd Street Y

(Credit: Shara Tibken/CNET )

“Apple has learned that maps are hard,” Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt calmly stated, without smirking, during an interview with All Things D hosts Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher at the 92nd Street Y in New York on Wednesday evening. He added that Google had spent over five years investing its map app, while Apple in catch-up mode.

Schmidt said that Google knew that Apple was prepping its own maps, noting that the company has been buying companies to help it build its map application. When asked about the release of a Google map app for iOS 6,  he said he would not pre-announce any product, adding that Apple would have to approve the app. “They haven’t approved all of Google’s offerings over the years,” he said.

However, he suggested that the two companies are not going silent on each other. “Apple and Google are two large and important institutions. We are always in negotiation, which makes for a structurally stable outcome,” he said. He broadened his statement, noting ongoing discussions among what he called the “network platforms with enormous scale global effects.”

Those network platforms include Facebook (the communications giant) and Amazon (the shopping giant), in addition to Google and Apple. Microsoft has not made Schmidt’s cut, but Windows 8 may change that evaluation. “We will see how Windows 8 plays out. It is a well funded, smart, well run company,” he said.

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