Google chairman Eric Schmidt talks immigration, Tim Cook, Julian Assange and his favorite snack foods (video)

Eric Schmidt

Google chairman Eric Schmidt recently sat down with ABC’s Rebecca Jarvis and discussed topics ranging from immigration to snack foods and reading interests. The Google executive also spoke candidly about Apple CEO Tim Cook’s recent letter on privacy and WikiLeaks frontman Julian Assange, who’s publicly referred to Google as “the private NSA.”

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Apple CEO Tim Cook: We have no religious issue with doing Android apps, but we won’t do Chat heads on iOS

Tim Cook noted during his interview at the D11 conference tonight that “Apple has no religious issue porting an iOS app to Android,” but was careful to point out that they would only do so “if it made sense.”

When asked about Facebook’s Android home screen replacement and whether such access would ever be available to developers on Apple’s platform, Cook noted that there are plans to allow deeper access to iOS, but such changes will only be allowed if they don’t impact the customer’s experience. Kara Swisher specifically asked about the possibility of Chat Heads becoming part of iOS, but Cook was quick to shoot the idea down: Read more

To get products into more hands, Google will open its own stores by the end of the year

An extremely reliable source has confirmed to us that Google is in the process of building stand-alone retail stores in the U.S. and hopes to have the first flagship Google Stores open for the holidays in major metropolitan areas.

The mission of the stores is to get new Google Nexus, Chrome, and especially upcoming products into the hands of prospective customers. Google feels right now that many potential customers need to get hands-on experience with its products before they are willing to purchase. Google competitors Apple and Microsoft both have retail outlets where customers can try before they buy. Google’s retail move won’t be an entirely new area, however.

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Google Chrome pop-up stores

Google currently has Chrome Store-within-a-store models in hundreds of Best Buys in the U.S. and 50 PCWorld/Dixon’s in the U.K. These stores have Google trained employees who demonstrate the value of Chromebooks and can answer the multitude of questions people have before making a purchase. Our source told us the new Google Stores would be a much broader play. The Chrome SIS employees don’t have sales targets, and they are there mostly for educating. Best Buy and Dixen’s also handle product and monetary transactions, not Google.

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Google and Virgin also ran a limited test run of Kiosks in five major Airports, including this one at SFO  (Image Scott Beale)

My understanding is that these new stores will operate independently and make direct sales to customers from Google like the Nexus online store does currently. It might also make sense for Google to sell its apparel and other Google-branded merchandise in these stores as well, but that’s speculation on my part.

The decision to open stores, I’m told, came when drawing up plans to take the Google Glass to the public. The leadership thought consumers would need to try Google Glass first hand to make a purchase. Without being able to use them first hand, few non-techies would be interested in buying Google’s glasses (which will retail from between $500 to $1,000). From there, the decision to sell other Google-branded products made sense.

Along with Glass, Google will have an opportunity to demonstrate other upcoming and Google X projects like driverless cars and mini-drone delivery systems at its stores.

There are small bits of anecdotal evidence that Google is looking into retail. It is hiring folks to develop Point of Sale systems, for instance. We’re told, however, that most of the ramping up of these stores will be done by an outside agency.

Apple CEO Tim Cook recently told analysts that Apple Stores were more than just stores—but rather the face of the company.

“I don’t think we would have been nearly as successful with iPad if it weren’t for our stores. It gives Apple an incredible competitive advantage. Others have found out it’s not so easy to replicate. We’re going to continue to invest like crazy. The average store last year was over 50 million in revenue.”

Google may now understand that if it wants to roll out a new product category like Google Glass, it is going to have to dive into retail. Read more

Court docs reveal email exchange between Eric Schmidt and Steve Jobs over poaching employees

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Earlier this month, a U.S. District Judge in California ordered Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, Apple CEO Tim Cook, and others to give depositions in an ongoing private lawsuit. Employees brought on the private lawsuit alleging  “no-poach” agreements the companies entered would drive down wages. Today, new details have emerged after a request to keep court documents secrets was denied by U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh.

While emails exchanged between Steve Jobs and former Palm CEO Ed Colligan have been the focus on the documents, The Verge also pointed us to emails exchange between Jobs and Google execs. Below we have an email form Jobs to Schmidt asking to put a stop to Google recruiting employees from its iPod team, as well as one where Schmidt discussed not wanting to create a paper trail: Read more

Amazon making moves to displace iPads in schools

We know Apple has had a lot of success pushing iPads in education, and during Apple’s Q3 conference call, CEO Tim Cook said the company would continue to be “very aggressive”. Apple’s iPad 2 sales in the K-12 market doubled y-o-y in Q3 thanks to a price drop to $399. In Q2, Apple said it sold about a million iPad units to the United States education market. With Apple’s upcoming iPad mini announcement possibly bringing an even lower price point for iPads in education, Amazon is announcing its plans today to get Kindle tablets into schools.

Reuters reported today that Amazon is launching a service, called “Whispercast”, aimed at allowing schools to easily deploy and manage multiple kindle devices:

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Bing: Check out our new look, you can’t tell you aren’t using Google!

Microsoft’s search engine Bing unveiled a new look today, and, well, it looks strikingly like Google’s homepage user-interface.

“Starting today you will notice a fresh, de-cluttered experience designed to help you find the results you want faster,” announced Principal Group Program Manager Sally Salas on the Bing.com blog.

Bing stripped the gray-blue gradient, orange links, left sidebar, and the convolute of text and imagery from its website to reveal a simple, white background adorned with crisp, blue text.

“Over the past few months, we’ve run dozens of experiments to determine how you read our pages to deliver the link you’re looking for. Based on that feedback, we’ve tuned the site to make the entire page easier to scan, removing unnecessary distractions, and making the overall experience more predictable and useful,” Salas explained.

The obvious rip-off appears hypocritical, though, especially because the company often takes shots at Google for stealing its ideas. Microsoft Europe’s communication team used Twitter in 2010 to poke fun of Google’s ability to implement background images, which is popular feature that characterized Bing since it launched in 2009.

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Google’s new campaign wants you to ‘Go Google’ (Video)

It’s no secret that Google is fully cloud-compatible, from emails and documents to online storage and video chats, but now the search engine is boasting about its array of cloud-based tools in a new campaign that encourages folks to go Google.

“At the heart of it, Google is about cloud computing—helping people live online and get things done in the cloud,” explained Vice President of Engineering Venkat Panchapakesan on the Official Google Blog:

According to Panchapakesan, over 16 million students and teachers from 66 of the top 100 U.S. universities and more than 4 million businesses worldwide have gone Google through Google Apps:

“Whether you need to add ‘milk’ to a shared shopping list from the train, collaborate with your teammate back in the office to finish your presentation from a hotel lobby, or chat face-to-face with your mom from halfway around the world, we believe that getting stuff done in the cloud is a better way. We like to call it ‘going Google.'”

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Apple and Samsung CEOs to meet in court for patent dispute settlement talks within 90 days

According to a report from Foss Patents (and confirmed by Reuters), Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook and Samsung Chief Executive Officer Gee-Sung Choi will meet within the next 90 days for settlement talks over ongoing patent disputes. Judge Lucy Koh, who is presiding over the two cases in California, initiated the meeting after ordering the companies to submit their CEOs and legal counsels to an Alternative Dispute Resolution.

“As directed by the Court, Apple and Samsung are both willing to participate in a Magistrate Judge Settlement Conference with Judge Spero as mediator. At Apple, the chief executive officer and general counsel are the appropriate decision-makers, and they will represent Apple during the upcoming settlement discussions. At Samsung, the chief executive officer and general counsel are also the appropriate decision-makers, and they will represent Samsung during these settlement discussions.”

The report called the talks “semi-voluntary,” because the companies did not have to submit to the Alternative Dispute Resolution. However, as pointed out by Foss Patents, “if only one of them had made the CEO available, the other one would have appeared to be less than constructive.” Apple and Samsung executives will meet in San Francisco with U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph C. Spero sometime over the next three months:
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