In a rare public interview since becoming chief executive at Google in April 2011, Larry Page sat down with Fortune’s Miguel Helft to talk about mobile computing, difficulties with Apple and search. In the seventy-minute discussion, the Google co-founder also talked about automated cars, management at Google, the possibility of a Motorola Nexus and a wide array of other topics. The most interesting excerpts from Page’s interview follow ahead.
I don’t know if this is unique at this time in this industry, but there are companies that are clearly competing with each other [Google, Apple and Amazon], with completely different business models.
I actually view that as a shame when you think about it that way. All the big technology companies are big because they did something great. I’d like to see more cooperation on the user side. The Internet was made in universities and it was designed to interoperate. And as we’ve commercialized it, we’ve added more of an island-like approach to it, which I think is a somewhat a shame for users.
So in light of that, Apple’s still a partner. It’s a competitor. You and Steve Jobs were friendly.
At times. You said that whole thing about Android and them being angry about it, that it was for show.
I didn’t say that entirely. I said partly.
[Apple did it] partly for show, to get the troops to rally.
By the way, that’s something I try not to do. I don’t like to rally my company in that way because I think that if you’re looking at somebody else, you’re looking at what they do now, and that’s not how again you stay two or three steps ahead.
So Apple obviously is a huge distribution partner for some of your services. How is the relationship?
What I was trying to say was I think it would be nice if everybody would get along better and the users didn’t suffer as a result of other people’s activities. I try to model that. We try pretty hard to make our products be available as widely as we can. That’s our philosophy. I think sometimes we’re allowed to do that. Sometimes we’re not.
So do you have an ongoing conversation with Apple about these kinds of issues and trying to resolve them?
I mean, obviously we talk to Apple. We have a big search relationship with Apple, and so on, and we talk to them and so on.