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Google chairman pans Apple over patent wars but says company is still ‘a very good partner’

Dan Graziano
September 27th, 2012 at 2:35 PM

The latest stop in former Google (GOOG) CEO and current chairman Eric Schmidt’s Asian tour was the South Korean capital of Seoul on Thursday. The executive was welcomed to the country with open arms as he announced the availability of Google’s Nexus 7 tablet. The 7-inch Android slate will be available in South Korean retail stores in mid-October for the equivalent of roughly $267, the Korea Times reported. Following his announcement, Schmidt spoke about the ongoing patent disputes plaguing the mobile industry and Google’s relationship with both Apple (AAPL) and Samsung (005930).

The executive, who previously spoke about Apple’s decision to drop Google’s mapping data, said that Apple “is actually a very good partner,” and reaffirmed his previous statements that both companies are “literally talking all the time about everything.” With respect to the Cupertino-based company’s patent filing, however, Schmidt had little praise. “The best thing we can tell there are plenty of prior arts and I don’t want to go beyond that,” he said.

Schmidt stressed that companies should look to compete in the market place with unique products, rather than using patent disputes to prevent innovation. “Literally patent wars prevent choice, prevent innovation and I think that is very bad,” he said. “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.”

The executive continued, “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 that one vendor can stop the sale of another vendor’s phones or devices.”

Schmidt revealed that he will be meeting with Samsung, as well as other important partners, while in Korea to discuss various topics. He did not disclose specific details, however we think we know what the meetings will be about.

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