Google Inc. Chairman Eric Schmidt said his company’s planned $12.5 billion purchase of smartphone maker Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. was aimed at acquiring products, and not merely patents.
“We did it for more than just patents,” Schmidt said in a conversation with Salesforce.com Inc. Chief Executive Officer Marc Benioff. “The Motorola team has some amazing products.”
The deal was aimed at helping Mountain View, California-based Google expand in smartphones in a rivalry with Apple Inc., maker of the iPhone. The deal brings more than 17,000 patents Google can use to protect its Android operating system.
Schmidt also praised former Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who stepped down last week, and said that he’s “proud” of his stint as an Apple director.
“It’s certainly the best performance of a CEO in 50 years,” Schmidt said of Jobs. “We’ve all benefited from the tremendous innovation at Apple. And I say this as a very proud former board member at Apple.”
Schmidt was on Apple’s board while he was CEO of Google. He exited in August 2009 as rivalry between the two companies accelerated. Google’s expansion into computer and mobile-phone software yielded direct competitors to Apple’s products, including the iPhone, which was introduced in 2007.