One of my favorite late night TV hosts Stephen Colbert from The Colbert Report is in the Android news world today after being interviewed by Google’s own Eric Schmidt. As I’m sure many of you know (or don’t) Colbert is known for his outrageous comedy and talks of politics, interviews with celebrities and more. Today however in a comedy skit Colbert takes a stop by Google‘s NY headquarters to be interviewed by Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, and it’s certainly worth a watch.
We won’t be talking Android here too much, nor about his Super PAC, but instead about Stephen Colbert’s new book. For comedy sakes he takes some funny and laugh filled questions from Google employees as he and Schmidt try to keep a straight face, and it’s quite enjoyable. For those that watch The Colbert Report regularly this will be funny, for everyone else — he’s a little odd.
The video below is about an hour long, so you can enjoy it if you choose but the fun part here being that Eric Schmidt took a few opportunities to talk about Android, the Google Play Store, and bash Apple at the same time. Something we’ve been seeing from Schmidt a lot as of late. At times I wish he’d stop interrupting and trying to be funny, but he did quite well considering Colbert does this nightly. The good stuff starts about 8 minutes in.
Eric Schmidt mentioned “I should not turn this into an Android commercial,” but after a few moments he got his plugs in where possible. Schmidt used the moment to talk up Android over Apple, and that one rainforest company (Amazon). Stating Android is currently “five times bigger than the iPhone.” The funny interview was all about Stephen Colbert’s new book (don’t ask) but Google’s chairman took that moment to attack Apple too. Mentioning that offering his new book “in the Google Play Store people will actually be reading your book.”
They briefly made jokes about Android, Google, the Nexus 7 and a few other things so it certainly is worth a watch if you’re a fan of Android or The Colbert Report. Hit the links below to see everything Eric Schmidt’s had to say lately regarding Android and Apple.
Google screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET)
Google’s Eric Schmidt is a very busy man.
But he still found the time to interview fellow political philosopher Stephen Colbert, when the latter appeared at Google this week.
You might imagine that Colbert would be au fait with all of Google’s services before presenting himself before an audience of Googlies.
Colbert was there to push his masterwork “America Again: Re-Becoming the Greatness We Never Weren’t.” He wanted people to go to their local bookstore or to the “one that’s named after the rain forest.”
Schmidt, ever the subtle salesman, explained to him that his book was for sale not merely on Amazon, but on Google Play.
“What does that mean?” asked a bemused Colbert.
Patiently, Schmidt explained that the Google hydra had a book-selling arm too.
Colbert still worried that — Google being Google — it would only sell e-books. He was stunned to discover that there might even be the possibility to buy a physical book too.
Yet he still had brand recognition problems. Shortly afterward, he appeared to forget the name again altogether.
When he learned his book would be for sale on Google Play at list price, Colbert said: “So go to Google Plus for no deal!”
How extraordinary that despite Google becoming one of the bigger tech spenders in advertising, there is still work to be done.
The whole interview embraced vast numbers of topics. Many will enjoy Colbert telling Schmidt that Google Maps are phenomenal. Schmidt agreed. “Ask an Apple user,” he said.
Should you be keen to hear someone say “bulls***” to Eric Schmidt, then I recommend the 19th minute.
Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt was Oracle’s final witness for the API copyright phase of the trial, in which Oracle is seeking $1 billion in damages, and the first witness as Google began its defense.
Oracle’s lawyer David Boies focused his questioning of Schmidt on Google’s apparent ongoing concern expressed in emails and documents about whether the company needed to get a license from Sun, despite its alleged “cleanroom” implementation. Google’s lawyer, Robert Van Nest, focused on Schmidt’s interaction with his old friends at Sun, who Schmidt testified didn’t express any concerns about or disapproval of
Android, or that Google needed a license to use Java APIs in Android.
Schmidt served as Google’s CEO for a decade, and like many others taking the witness stand in the legal battle with Oracle, he was a former Sun executive. Schmidt joined Sun in1983 and held several high-level positions, including director of software engineering and chief technology officer. He was also involved in the development of Java and close friends with Scott McNealy and Jonathan Schwartz, who served as Sun CEOs. Schmidt left Sun in 1997 and became CEO of Novell, and then joined Google as CEO in 2001.
Oracle’s lead lawyer David Boies started with a August 2005 presentation about the Android project made by Andy Rubin to the top executives at Google.
Google benefits by having more control of the user experience and built-in Google apps, Boies stated.
“We make our advertising from search so it may or may not cause more advertising revenue,” Schmidt said.
“In fact, I think you said the revenue you receive as result of additional search revenue paid for Android and a whole bunch more,” Boies said.
“Yes,” Schmidt responded.
Boies moved on to documents outlining Google’s plan for Android to enter the handset market. According to the document, Google’s intent for Android included:
Given the focus of the trial on Oracle’s claim to copyrights on Java APIs, Boies asked Schmidt if the reference to Google APIs referred to Android APIs. Schmidt answered in the affirmative.
Boies showed Schmidt a presentation on Android and notes from a meeting in January 2007, highlighting the following text:
Eric Schmidt: What about Java?
Andy Rubin: We doing it ourselves, have JVM but not libraries. Still shopping for libs/JVMs. Talking to various partners including IBM, Emmertec, XCE, etc. This is still a hotspot.
For Boies, this exchange highlighted the themes he was trying to get across to Judge Alsup and the jury:
Boies then asked whether the Apache software Google was relying on was authorized for mobile devices.
“I do not know the details of that,” Schmidt said.
Boies then asked about an Executive Management Group presentation that talked about a possible deal between Sun and Google, with the follow bullet points:
He followed that document with the August 6, 2010 memo from Tim Lindholm, a former Sun Java guru who joined Google in 2005, in which he stated that Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin to look for alternatives to licensing Sun technology.
“Were your aware that Larry and Sergey asked Lindholm do this,” Boies asked.
“I was aware that we were thinking about what to do, I didn’t know the specifics,” Schmidt said.
Lindholm’s email said all the alternatives “suck,” and concluded that Google needed to negotiate a license with Java.
“It was not reported to me,” Schmidt said.
Boies asked about a July 26, 2005 presentation that stated Google was required to take a license from Sun.
Schmidt didn’t remember that particular presentation.
“Were you told in 2005 that people responsible for Android said that Google must take a license for Java,” Boies asked.
“I do not actually recall,” Schmidt responded, adding that something wasn’t right with the Java license. The second part of his response was stricken from the record.
Oracle thus rested its case in this first phase of the trail. Now Google puts on its defense, and the first witness is…Eric Schmidt.
Google lawyer Robert Van Nest led the direct examination of Schwartz, asking what the emails saying Google should acquire a license from Sun for Java.
“Must take a license from Sun refers to the previous statement [in a document] about getting the Java coffee-cup logo,” Schmidt said.
Van Nest asked Schmidt about what other companies beside Sun Google was talking to about Android. He mention hardware manufacturers, but no other software company with a JVM and APIs.
Schmidt said he had many discussions with Sun, including Sun CEO Scott McNealy, who he said was a friend and mentor. “For many reasons we would have constant conversation,” Schmidt said.
In a February 8, 2006 email thread between McNealy and Schmidt Google and Sun considered a partnership around an Open Handset Platform, which would allow the two companies to define a de facto software standard for handsets.
McNealy responded that Jonathan Schwartz, president of Sun, and team were “on top of this,” but expressed concern about replacing lost revenues. “I’m very supportive of driving a completely open phone stack, and even taking a risk with Java to get there, but I just need to understand the economics.”
In an e-mail, Schwartz told Schmidt that a single, open platform for multiple consumer devices was good but negotiations to create a Java-Linux mobile platform had reached an impasse. Schwartz said that Sun was willing to embrace innovations to make Google applications “shine,” but not willing to cede complete control of management of key components of the Java software stack.
Schmidt responded to Schwartz’s concerns in May 2006, saying he was ok with each party hosting and managing their own contributions. “I viewed it as a relatively minor issue,” Schmidt told Van Nest.
Schmidt wrote that Google should have the final say over what part of Sun’s technology is contributed to an open platform, given Google was going to pay Sun for access to the source code.
Schmidt said the negotiation broke down because of control issue. “Sun’s view was that they wanted much tighter control,” Schmidt said.
Without an agreement, Google’s Android team developed a “clean room” implementation that uses a completely different approach to the way Java worked internally, Schmidt said. “This was done by a team that did not come from Sun and did not use Sun’s intellectual property, so I was told,” he stated.
Android uses the Java language and APIs but not the source code or APIs, Schmidt added. “It was my understanding it was completely fine [to use the Java language] and Sun had made the Java language available.”
Schmidt expressed the Google view that the APIs are part of the language and required to use the language.
Schmidt said that Sun did not request any license in 2006 when Android was developing its “cleanroom” implementation.
When Google announced Android, and the Open Handset Alliance, in 2007, Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz send a note to Schmidt asking him how he could help with Google’s announcement of the Android software developer kit, and wrote a public blog post.
I just wanted to add my voice to the chorus of others from Sun in offering my heartfelt congratulations to Google on the announcement of their new Java/Linux platform, Android. Congratulations!
I’d also like Sun to be the first platform software company to commit to a complete developer environment around the platform, as we throw Sun’s NetBeans developer platform for mobile devices behind the effort. We’ve obviously done a ton of work to support developers on all Java based platforms, and were pleased to add Google’s Android to the list.
And needless to say, Google and the Open Handset Alliance just strapped another set of rockets to the community’s momentum – and to the vision defining opportunity across our (and other) planets.
Following the Open Handset Alliance announcement Google continued to talk with Schwartz. “Jonathan’s core view was to make Java more successful,” Schmidt said. On March 31 2008, Schwartz and Schmidt met at Sun’s headquarters to discuss their licensing approaches, and whether it made sense to for Sun to put some of its software on top of Google’s platform. “I was concerned that there was miscommunication between the teams,” Schmidt said. “He was exploring what choices there we to take advantage of Java users in a good way,” Schmidt said.
In an email from Schmidt to Schwartz on March 31, 2008, the then Google CEO said that Sun could take Android and do whatever they like, subject to the license, and add the Java code and make it available.
In subsequent meetings Schmidt said the Schwartz didn’t express any concerns about or disapproval of Android, or that Google needed a license to use Java APIs in Android.
“My understanding is that what we were doing was permissible because of the sum of my experiences and interactions I had,” Schmidt said, adding that he “very comfortable that what we were doing was both legally correct and consistent” with the policies of Sun and Google at that time.
Van Nest asked Schmidt about other uses of Java APIs. He noted IBM and handset makers, but wasn’t asked whether they were Sun licensees.
Boies began his redirect by asking Schmidt about his recollection about conversations with Schwartz that Sun was comfortable with what Google was doing with Android.
Boies read from Schmidt’s earlier deposition for the case, in which he stated that he spoke with Jonathan Schwartz a couple of times in the preceding years and that Schwartz told him orally that he was comfortable with what Google was doing. In the deposition, Schmidt couldn’t recall a few of the specific details of his conversations with Schwartz.
Schwartz will be called as a witness by Google in the coming days to shed more light on what the two discussed.
Boies asked Schmidt if he were asserting that Google has rights to any Sun technology under the Apache license.
“You are aware that Google does not have a license from Sun to use Java APIs,” Boies asked.
Schmidt agreed. Boies asked why Sun didn’t license the Sun APIs through the GPL license. Schmidt said that Google chose to use the Apache license, rather than the GPL license.
Boies went on to discuss Google’s use of Java APIs, specifically the 37 APIs that Oracle said Google infringed upon. Schmidt said that the 37 APIs are needed to make the Java language useful. “The 37 APIs are roughly the right number,” Schmidt said. “We implemented those interfaces in our own way.”
“Are you saying the only thing you copied from the Java APIs are the names?” Boies asked.
“Yes,” Schmidt responded. “As I understand, we did our own implementation of the 37 APIs. I don’t the know the technical details.”
Boies asked Schmidt about his statement to Google lawyer Robert Van Nest that a reference to Sun getting a license from Sun for Java was about getting the Java coffee-cup logo.
Schmidt said that it was possible to license the Java trademark without the code, but allowed that there is far more to an OSS J2 ME JVM license than a trademark.
Schmidt was asked about calls from the Android team to get a TCK (Technology Compatibility Kit) license from Sun, but could recall a lot of details, such as what TCK license meant. “Things change over 20 years,” he said.
Boies finally asked about a 2009 Google proposal to buy all the rights to Java from Sun. Schmidt had written that it was “certainly a clever idea” and he would ask his team to pursue the idea.
As a finale, Judge Alsup went back to the case at hand — whether the 37 Java APIs are copyrightable — asking Schmidt to define the difference between an API and its implementation. Like others from the Google side before him, the former Google Executive Chairman suggested in his testimony that APIs are not subject to copyright like an implementation of an API.
Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt had plenty to discuss during his keynote at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week, sharing his vision of the future for mobile and Internet technology. Some topics included human rights and how technology is shaping our future, hinting at various Google-related products all the while. But the keynote kicked off with a demo of Google Chrome for Android Ice Cream Sandwich, showing off some key features. The new Chrome actually pre-loads web pages it anticipates you’ll open next, speeding up the browsing experience. Chrome for Android also launched in an additional 20 countries this week.
Schmidt hails Android as the best mobile OS on the market, with the best browser. “If you care about security, you should use Chrome, because it’s by far the safest,” he said, referring to the growing controversy over the security of the browser. The mobile browser concerns pertain to a vulnerability existing in WebKit, the software engine used by the Chrome and Safari web browsers. Security firm CrowdStrike was able to redirect the target smartphone’s browser during tests on Android-powered phones, tapping a remote access tool capable of intercepting voice calls, tracking the phone’s location and harvesting email and text messages.
On the bright side, any cyber-criminal looking to take advantage of the WebKit weak spot will first have to get a malware app into the Market, and further convince a smartphone user to download that app. It’s getting more difficult to peddle malware in the Android Market, especially since Google’s stepped-up protection methods and the rise in security services for Android devices.
Google Chrome is an important piece of the Android puzzle, merging two platforms central to Google’s long term goals around search advertising and web services. During Schmidt’s keynote he shared his vision of mobility for developing countries, with smartphones replacing feature phones. Google Chrome could play a large part in providing web access through Android gadgets, with a web-device combo that Mozilla and Telefonica are also leveraging to bring more smartphones to developing countries.
If it weren’t for Android, Google would have a pretty lousy record when it comes to working with hardware manufacturers. Google TV has been a bust to date (though the latest update may help resuscitate the platform), and sales of Chromebooks, systems that run the search giant’s Chrome OS, have been very modest.
And that’s putting it mildly. According to DigiTimes, Acer has only sold 5,000 Chromebooks since it launched them last summer, and Samsung has supposedly sold even fewer of its Chromebooks. Those numbers make the BlackBerry PlayBook sales figures look like a rousing success in comparison.
Despite those abysmal numbers, Google hasn’t given up extolling the virtues of Chrome OS, with executive chairman Eric Schmidt talking it up in a speech earlier this week. In theory, it does have some advantages, like far speedier boot-up times than Windows systems, but the fact that it forces users to rely on the cloud for all of their application needs is a significant drawback when you’re not connected to the Internet.
Should Google give up on its Chrome OS and Chromebooks? If not, how can it improve sales? Let us know your thoughts in the Talkback section.