Ina Fried

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Google’s Schmidt: We Would Have Loved for Nokia to Adopt Android

Google would have loved Nokia to choose Android, and executive Eric Schmidt expressed hope that it might someday decide to do so, its partnership with Microsoft notwithstanding.

“I hope at some time in the future they will be [willing] to choose Android again,” Schmidt said in a roundtable discussion with a small group of reporters following his keynote speech at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

Schmidt said that he and Android chief Andy Rubin had talked quite a bit with Nokia and that the company understood its operating system well, but declined to say how advanced the talks with his company had gotten. “We did talk to them,” he said. “I would rather not go into the details.”

Nokia CEO Stephen Elop told Mobilized on Tuesday that Microsoft will pay billions of dollars for the right to have the company cast the “swing vote” in favor of Windows Phone 7.

Asked whether he agreed that the Nokia-Microsoft partnership makes the smartphone business a three-horse race, Schmidt said, “They’ll have to deliver.”

Separately, Schmidt said regarding near-field communications that Google intends to build a business, but won’t be getting into the credit card or terminal business, but is interested in delivering offers to NFC-equipped devices.

He also reiterated that the company isn’t looking to get into the media business.

“It’s important not to get into businesses you don’t understand,” Schmidt said.

Rubin did say that, having gotten into the business of selling apps, Google is also exploring what other kinds of digital goods it might sell, but had no comment on whether it would sell music or publications.

Asked by Mobilized whether the company needs to do more on the social front, Schmidt said that the company isn’t as interested in building products to compete with Facebook as it is to have the social signals it needs in its core products. However, he said that the Facebook “Like” button or something akin to it is important because what you and your friends like is a key to delivering personalized search results.

On the EU front, Schmidt said that company has had some conversations with regulators and looks forward to more in order to address any concerns.


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