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Google's Eric Schmidt: Microsoft Is 'Well-Run' But Irrelevant

The technology industry today is a fight between Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google, Google chairman Eric Schmidt said Wednesday night at an event at the 92nd Street Y.

His interviewers, AllThingsD editors Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher, pressed him on a name he omitted: Microsoft.

The omission was deliberate, Schmidt responded.

"They’re a well-run company, but they haven’t been able to bring state-of-the-art products into the fields we’re talking about," Schmidt said.

Asked about Microsoft's Surface tablet, the company's first foray into integrated hardware and software aside from the Xbox video-game console, Schmidt seemed skeptical.

"It means a lot if the product works," he said.

Schmidt's openly dismissive views are noteworthy. At Sun and Novell, he spent most of his career prior to Google competing with Microsoft—often not very successfully. And just seven years ago, he struck a very different tone in an interview with Business 2.0 columnist John Battelle.

"Let's talk about the competitive environment," Battelle asked Schmidt. "Back in 2002, you mentioned to me how nice it was to be working at a company that was not competing with Microsoft ..."

"Yeah," Schmidt replied. "Can you take me back to that time? I really liked being in our little bubble. We were having a really good time."

Back to the future.



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