Tony Avelar/Agence France-Presse â€" Getty Images Steven P. Jobs and Eric E. Schmidt at a 2006 Macworld conference in San Francisco, when a partnership to provide Google software on an Apple iPhone was announced.
Eric Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google and a longtime friend and competitor of Steve Jobs, says Mr. Jobs’s influence may yet be seen in new ways.
This is a man whose impact is equal to any global leader, he said. He very much wanted to live and have a third act beyond Apple™s founding and its revival.
As for whether that impact may grow through the wealth he leaves behind, Mr. Schmidt said, “it is not for me to characterize what will happen with Mr. Jobs™s fortune. â€œAll of that will unfold,” he added. “I will say that he was a very thoughtful person, and he cared a lot about the world.
Mr. Schmidt knew Mr. Jobs for decades and did business with him while Mr. Schmidt was at Sun Microsystems and Mr. Jobs was starting the computer company NeXT. He was also a member of Appleâ€™s board from 2006 to 2009.
â€œThe NeXT thing was really important in Mr. Jobsâ€™s life, Mr. Schmidt said. â€œIt helped him think in whole new ways, how to lead and innovate. NeXT was purchased by Apple in 1996, bringing Mr. Jobs back into Apple after his dismissal in 1985.
While an Apple board member, Mr. Schmidt said, he had extensive dealings with Tim Cook, now Appleâ€™s chief executive. â€œThe culture of this company is strong, and it will continue,” he said. “Tim was an extremely good operational executive, and he will move to preserve the culture.
â€œHe is not an ordinary executive, Mr. Schmidt added.
Mr. Schmidt left Appleâ€™s board when Google™s entry into both mobile communications and computers — with, respectively, the Android and Chrome operating systems — presented numerous business conflicts between the two companies. â€œI learned an attention to style and quality while sitting on Apple™s board, he said. â€œThe board would see a lot of demos. Steve had a real level of pride in what they were producing.â€�
Since that time, there have been reports in technology The Times and elsewhere of open discord between the two men and their companies. Mr. Schmidt, however, denied any such personal enmity.
â€œWe understood it was a possibility when I joined the board,â€� he said of the business conflicts. â€œWe had adult conversations about it at the beginning and the end.
â€œAll those reports in the press were wrong,” he added. “After I left the board, they had me to events and to private dinners.â€�