Eric Schmidt has dismissed the idea of tension between Google and Samsung over Android, arguing that he was instead very grateful to the South Korean phone giant for taking a chance on Google's mobile OS.
During a 16 April appearance at the D:Dive Into Mobile event, Schmidt also confirmed the imminent arrival of Google Glass for early adopters and denied that Google was annoyed by Facebook Home.
In February, the Wall Street Journal reported that Google was worried that Samsung might use its 40 per cent Android market share to "flex its muscle" and demand a more favourable arrangement from Google.
When asked about that, Schmidt said "I can assure you, the press coverage of tension [with Samsung] is not correct."
Google's executive chairman said he has been to South Korea many times, where he's had favorable meetings with Samsung executives. Schmidt said he is, in fact, "very appreciative of [Samsung's] decision ... to go with Android," which really helped define the mobile operating system.
At Mobile World Congress 2013, Nick DiCarlo, Samsung's vice president of portfolio planning, said that "the brilliance of the Android strategy from the beginning was that you have this baseline that was real standard, and we've been huge advocates and defenders of that, but that allow you to do creative things on the top of that."
"You can have all of these cool services from Google while also having companies like Samsung also build all of these things on top of it without breaking it," DiCarlo said.
As for other firms that have embraced Android, like HTC and Google's own Motorola Mobility, Schmidt said they are all "very good capitalists" who will figure out how to make money.
Another company that is building services on top of Android is Facebook, which recently introduced Facebook Home, a service that is mid-way between an operating system and an app. Facebook Home brings the social network front and centre, allowing people to access their stream and interact with friends directly from the home screen.
When asked for this thoughts on Facebook Home, Schmidt said the social network did everything by the book.
"They read the manual, they read the rules, and they adhered to them. Shocking!" he quipped. "Good for them."
"If you look at Facebook ... they actually made a very important point to make it completely applications compatible," Schmidt added.
As a result, it's "highly unlikely" that Google would ever remove Facebook Home from Google Play: "It's called open source, last time I checked."
Schmidt was also quizzed about Apple. The Google exec served on Apple's board until the rise of Android made that a conflict of interest. He reiterated that he'd like Apple to reconsider its decision to drop Google Maps on iOS, but stressed that Google and the Cupertino-based company still work together on mobile search. He did, however, say that Apple's cash pile might be a "missed opportunity for investment."
There are "plenty of ways to soak up one's cash besides giving it to your shareholders," he argued.
Schmidt also confirmed that Google had started sending out email notifications regarding early adopter Google Glass shipments. Schmidt said he expected the first pair of glasses to start shipping "in the next few days."
"As far as I know, it's happening very fast," he said.
As for the glasses themselves, Schmidt said he was very impressed by their voice-recognition abilities. He did not wear his glasses while in North Korea, though; "I didn't want to freak them out; they have a lot of guns," he joked.