Is Larry Page Kicking Apple When It’s Down?

Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) chief executive Larry Page was not in a benevolent mood while discussing rivals during a Wired magazine interview, taking swipes at both Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Facebook (NASDAQ:FB).

Asked about late Apple cofounder Steve Jobs’ threat of starting a “thermonuclear war” over the alleged copying of the iOS operating system by Google’s Android, Page asked in response: “How well is that working?”

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Then asked if he thought Android’s market share was now decisive against Apple, Page did not answer directly, but just said that his company was happy about the success of the software. Google’s Android is estimated to power around 70 percent of all smartphones in the world.

Page further said that when Google bought Android, the mobile software company run by Andy Rubin, in 2005, “it was pretty obvious that the existing mobile operating systems were terrible. You couldn’t write software for them. So I don’t think that betting on Android was that big a stretch.”

Page also almost mocked Apple’s decision to remove Google’s Maps as a default app from iOS devices. Apple’s homegrown replacement maps app has ben widely panned by both users and reviewers since its launch for its lack of detail and functionality as well as data errors. Apple chief executive Tim Cook was ultimately forced to apologize to users for the program.

“You may have the greatest maps in the world, but if nobody uses them, it doesn’t matter,” Page told Wired. “Our philosophy has always been to get our products out to as many people as possible … Now we’re going backward with a lot of the platforms that are out there. Companies are trying to wall everything off, and I think that impedes the rate of innovation.”

Last month, Google eventually created and released a new standalone Maps app targeted at Apple’ mobile devices, and it has been very successful. “We’ve been working on Maps for a long time, and it’s nice to see people realize that we’ve put a lot of effort and investment into it,” Page said.

Abut Facebook, the Google chief executive said that the social network was strong in the social networking space but was “doing a really bad job” on its products. “For us to succeed, is it necessary for some other company to fail? No,” he said. “We’re actually doing something different. I think it’s outrageous to say that there’s only space for one company in these areas.”

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Asked for his evaluation of Google+, Page said the company was working on “a lot of really cool stuff” for the social network. “A lot of it has been copied by our competitors, so I think we’re doing a good job,” he said.

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