Photo: salon.com

Photo: salon.com

The sometimes stormy relationship between Apple and Google appears to be growing friendlier, with Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt telling Reuters at the annual Allen & Co conference in Sun Valley that the two companies were having “lots and lots” of meetings.

Schmidt did not provide details about the nature of the meetings during comments to reporters at the annual Allen and Co media conference in Sun Valley, Idaho on Thursday. He noted that Google Chief Business Officer Nikesh Arora, who joined him at the press briefing, was leading many of the discussions.

The two companies are in “constant business discussions on a long list of issues,” Schmidt said.

The two companies started out close. Schmidt joined Apple’s board in 2006, and the iPhone launched with both Googlemaps and YouTube on board. That was to change after Google’s Android platform began growing in popularity. It was revealed in Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs biography that Jobs threatened “thermonuclear war” on Google over what he felt was a copycat product … 

“I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong,” Jobs said. “I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this.”

Schmidt resigned from Apple’s board in 2009, when Google launched its desktop operating system, ChromeOS. As recently as last year, he described the battle between iOS and Android as the “defining fight of the industry today.” Apple replaced Googlemaps with such haste that Tim Cook was forced to issue an apology, and the YouTube app – now owned by Google – went too.

Neither party is saying anything about the content of the meetings, and a report from the same conference by Bloomberg doesn’t necessarily suggest the closest of relationships:

Moments later, Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook walked by, prompting Nikesh Arora, Google’s chief business officer, to shout out: “Tim, everybody here wants to take your picture!” Cook complied, without saying anything.

“We got Tim to smile,” Schmidt said. “Always a good thing.”

Bloomberg reports that Schmidt said he has “a lot of respect for Apple.”

“We’re sort of in constant, constant business discussions on a long list of issues,” Schmidt said. “These are two proud, well-run, different companies.”

Competition between the two is, however, likely to be increased by Google’s reputed plans to spend half a billion dollars promoting its Motorola Mobility subsidiary’s Moto X handset due for launch later this year.

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