“As Google Inc. battles rivals ranging from Apple Inc. to Internet companies that allege it fixes its search results, Eric Schmidt has become the search giant’s peacemaker and explainer-in-chief,” Jessica E. Lessin reports for The Wall Street Journal.

“The iPhone maker has pursued numerous lawsuits against hardware makers who use Android, claiming they rip off its own designs,” Lessin reports. “Mr. Schmidt, 57 years old, recently sat down to discuss a potential antitrust suit, the Google-Apple rivalry, and whether he would consider a government post.”

Some snippets:

WSJ: How has Google’s relationship with Apple changed in the past year?
Schmidt: It’s always been on and off. 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. The press would like to write the sort of teenage model of competition, which is, ‘I have a gun, you have a gun, who shoots first?’ The adult way to run a business is to run it more like a country. They have disputes, yet they’ve actually been able to have huge trade with each other. They’re not sending bombs at each other. I think both Tim [Cook, Apple's CEO] and Larry [Page, Google's CEO], the sort of successors to Steve [Jobs] and me if you will, have an understanding of this state model. When they and their teams meet, they have just a long list of things to talk about.

WSJ: Are Apple and Google discussing a patent-related settlement?
Schmidt: Apple and Google are well aware of the legal strategies of each other. Part of the conversations that are going on all the time is to talk about them. It’s extremely curious that Apple has chosen to sue Google’s partners and not Google itself.

WSJ: Do you see Apple’s Siri virtual assistant as a competitor to Google search?
Schmidt: Well, it’s competition. I mean, in the antitrust filings, we actually use Siri as an example of future “non-conforming to the Web” competition , which we do worry about.

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Who knew? A mole who can speak fluent weasel.

Related articles:
Steve Jobs: ‘I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product; I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this’ – October 20, 2011
What’s up with Eric Schmidt’s revisionist history of his relationship with Steve Jobs? – October 14, 2011

So, Eric Schmidt, where are those iOS-slaying Android exclusive apps? – June 7, 2012
Why Eric Schmidt’s prediction about Android vs. iOS development is dead wrong – December 15, 2011
Eric Schmidt: Google’s Android to top Apple’s iOS among developers within 6 months – December 7, 2011