Google chief calls Apple's suit on Samsung 'unfair'
New Delhi: Google Executive Chairman, Eric Schmidt, who is presently on a visit to India, on Wednesday said that Apple was using patent lawsuits to block Samsung's market, while denying people the choice to buy the products of the Korean company.
Schmidt said that it was only recently that telecommunications companies have started using patent lawsuits to counter healthy competition and called Apple's case on Samsung ''unfair''.
"A number of companies, led by the telecommunications industry decided to use patents to stop innovation. A notable example is Apple sued Samsung in a number of courts trying to essentially not allow Samsung's products into the market," said Schmidt.
" Now, I understand that there is a dispute over patents but to deny people the actual choice, literally you can't even choose our product versus another, strikes me as completely unfair and very much not what the patent system was really about," he added.
Apple won a USD 1.05 billion verdict last August against Samsung, but USD 450 million was slashed from that amount and a new damages trial was ordered. Apple's request for a permanent sales ban against several Samsung phones was also rejected.
Apple has appealed and a ruling is not expected until September at the earliest.
Apple also accused Samsung in a second lawsuit of violating a separate batch of patents, including the rights to search technology that is part of the iPhone Siri voice feature. That case is scheduled for trial in March 2014.
The legal fight has been widely viewed as a proxy war between Apple and Google Inc. Samsung's hot-selling Galaxy smartphones and tablets run on Google's Android operating system.
India has one of the world's youngest Internet population, with 75 percent of users under 35, and many of them have much more disposable income than their parents did.
The executive chairman of Google was quick to point out the untapped source of around 600 million Indians who are yet to join the World Wide Web.
"India today is not a leader in web services and web programming, even though it has an opportunity to do so. I wonder why not and my guess is the simplest answer, is that the Internet and particular connectivity has lacked. So, on the other hand that creates an opportunity," Schmidt said.
"Some numbers are 20 million broadband connections, 130 million internet users from a population of 1.3 billion so, roughly speaking 10 percent penetration," he added.