Apple CEO Steve Jobs and Google CEO Eric Schmidt were spotted sharing what appeared to be a friendly chat in a coffee shop in Palo Alto, about equidistant from Google's Mountain View campus and Apple's Cupertino HQ. A photo of their meeting was posted by Gizmodo
and rapidly spread through Silicon Valley blogs, and pundits struggled to divine the meaning, of any, of the apparent truce in the escalating war between the two Silicon Valley giants. According to witnesses, the conversation ended with Jobs suggesting they "go discuss this somewhere more private." There is no word if Schmidt has been seen since then.
The two men were once close colleagues, if not friends. Steve even gave Eric an early prototype of the iPhone: reportedly, though, Eric gave the iPhone to his mistress
after neither he nor his wife could figure out how to use the interface. However, Eric stood on the stage with Steve at Macworld during the iPhone's unveiling in 2007, and demoed Google search as well as Google Maps. Google has long been an integral part of Apple's online strategy, and is still the default search on the Safari browser.
Trouble began between the two when a Wall Street Journal
story came out describing how Google was working on its own cell phone
. Steve was livid. He called Eric, who was driving to Burning Man from the hotel room in Reno where he slept every night of the festival (Eric does not like to camp). Just as Steve was berating Eric for betraying him, the call was disconnected due to bad signal. Eric called Steve back from a convenience store so Steve could yell at him some more. Eventually, Eric resigned from the Apple board of directors, citing conflict of interest as Google pursued its own operating system, the Chrome OS, in addition to ongoing work on the Android mobile phone platform. However, Eric's admiration for Steve continues. In a story in the New York Times this month
, Eric called Steve "the best C.E.O. in the world today."
It's not known in detail what the two men discussed, though a person who was present at the Calafia coffeeshop with them overheard Steve Jobs saying that people were "going to see it all eventually so who cares how they get it” in regards to Web-based content. The Google CEO was reportedly very quiet, with Apple's founder doing most of the talking. An object on the table between them, at first believed to be an iPad, was later identified as a menu.
Anyone having knowledge of Eric Schmidt's whereabouts is encouraged to contact his wife. Or his mistress, one of the two.