Google’s Executive Chairman, Eric Schmidt, has been helping to launch the Nexus 7 tablet in South Korea. As part of his visit we expect Google and Samsung to have been strategizing on the patent war with Apple. At a Nexus 7 launch event at the Grand Intercontinental Seoul, Schmidt said:
“I will be meeting with Samsung as well as with other important partners as I do every time I come here. With Samsung, as you can imagine, they are one of our most important partners and there is much to discuss.”
After the meeting with Samsung Mobile President, Shin Jong-kyun, and President and Chief Executive of the digital media division, Choi Gee-sung, he refused to comment any further. Although at the Nexus 7 launch event he did go on to address the patent issue directly, saying:
“Literally patent wars prevent choice, prevent innovation and I think that is very bad. 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 that are overlapping and complicated and so forth, that one vendor can stop the sale of another vendor’s phones or devices.”
He was typically cagey about criticizing Apple outright saying that the Cupertino company:
“is actually a very good partner. Our two companies are literally talking all the time about everything. With respect to Apple patents, the best thing we can tell there are plenty of prior arts and I don’t want to go beyond that,”
Apparently the visit to South Korea by Schmidt has been seen as a way of rallying support for Android vendors in the face of competition from Apple and the new Windows Phone 8 platform. The 16GB version of the Nexus 7 will be going on sale mid-October in South Korea and it will cost 299,000 won, which is about $270 or £165.