Eric Schmidt at Boxee

Google Chairman and former chief executive Eric Schmidt seems perplexed by some of Apple’s recent decisions, like the patent lawsuits against Android partners, and Apple’s sudden removal of Google’s YouTube app from iOS devices.

Perhaps most frightening of all, Schmidt said he expects the recent spat of patent litigation between Apple and Android makers to continue for a while. He made the comments in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.

When asked if Apple and Google are working on a patent settlement, Schmidt noted, “It’s extremely curious that Apple has chosen to sue Google’s partners and not Google itself.”

Indeed, Apple’s litigation against Samsung, HTC, and others has often hinged on features that are core to Android. It never really made much sense that Apple targeted Android makers rather than Google.

Schmidt pointed out that the biggest losers from all of this litigation are future innovators:

There’s a young [Android co-founder] Andy Rubin trying to form a new version of Danger [the smartphone company Mr. Rubin co-founded before Android]. How is he or she going to be able to get the patent coverage necessary to offer version one of their product? That’s the real consequence of this.

He was also “not quite sure” why Apple decided to drop YouTube iOS app, which was included with the iPhone from the beginning. (That move likely worked out in Google’s favor though, as it was able to provide its own YouTube app that offered more content and supported advertising.) Schmidt notes he “would have preferred” if had Apple continued using Google Maps, but he didn’t seem too surprised by Apple’s choice to go with its own map application.

When asked about Windows Phone 8, Schmidt admitted he hasn’t tried it out yet, but he added that Microsoft “has not emerged as a trendsetter” in the modern smartphone arena. (Tell us something we don’t know, Eric.)

Photo: Devindra Hardawar/VentureBeat