It seems that every time Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt opens his mouth in front of reporters, he can't help but reveal some underlying annoyance and confusion with Apple.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday, Google's in-house loudmouth sounded off on his bafflement with its secretive smartphone rival.
"It's extremely curious that Apple has chosen to sue Google's partners and not Google itself," Schmidt said after the Journal's Jessica Lessin asked if Google and Apple are discussing a patent-related settlement.
In August, Apple won a $1 billion settlement against Samsung in the U.S., after alleging that the Korean smartphone maker copied design elements from iPhone and iPad. Engadget's Daniel Cooper interpreted Schmidt's statement in the Journal as a bearbaiting of sorts: "Come at me bro," Schmidt seemed to be saying to Apple.
Schmidt has previously said he is perplexed by Apple's decision to drop native support for Google Maps on iOS and build an Apple Maps app in its place. "We think it would have been better if they had kept [Google Maps]. But what do I know?" Schmidt told reporters in September. "What were we going to do, force them not to change their mind? It's their call."
Since Apple's buggy in-house mapping app debuted on Apple's latest mobile operating system release, critics and users have trumpeted their disapproval and disappointment. Speaking to the chilly reception Apple Maps received, Schmidt told AllThingsD in October, "Apple has learned is that maps are really hard."
During his interview with WSJ on Tuesday, Schmidt intimated that he was also surprised at Apple's decisions this year to target the Google-made YouTube app that used to come preloaded on iOS devices.
"Obviously, we would have preferred them to use our maps. They threw YouTube off the home screen [of iPhones and iPads]. I'm not quite sure why they did that," said Schmidt.
ThinkEquity analyst Ronald Josey told Reuters that the removal of native iOS apps like Google Maps and YouTube could signal a bigger battle on the horizon. "The writing's on the wall that when search is up for renewal, there's a significant chance that Google may not be the default," said Josey.
Schmidt, however, didn't let on that he was worried Google's search app would also get the ax. For now, he says he is as confused by Apple's decisions as the rest of us.