Google has had a sometimes rocky relationship with Apple, given the rivalries the company’s share in the mobile space. However, Google’s executive chairman and former CEO Eric Schmidt (himself a former member of Apple’s board of directors) had high praise for the Steve Jobs after his announced step down from the Apple CEO position.
“What Steve has done at Apple, it’s certainly the best performance of a CEO in 50 years, and maybe in 100 years,” Schmidt said.
When asked why Apple has succeeded with devices like iPhone and iPad while Microsoft hasn’t been able to expand their business, Schmidt took a swipe at Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. “Well, there’s differences in ability,” he said, adding, “Microsoft was built around a model of control and licensing. And they did a brilliant job of making sure the hardware guys did not innovate around them. They did not organize around the consumer, they organized around the industry structure.”
Apple, he said, organized around the consumer with user-friendly user experiences, saying, “if you organize around the consumer, then everything will follow.” He noted that Google is following this example.
As for what Schmidt is doing, he’s help advising the government on making sure that American job creation is healthy. He’s also writing about the interaction between the technology industry and the government, noting that when countries adopt American technology, “American democracy and communication values are the ones that become set.”