Google Alphabet boss Schmidt: Yeah, I have an iPhone 6S - but Galaxy S7 is better

Who uses an iPhone? Alphabet boss Eric Schmidt and just about every other person at the tech startup conference in Amsterdam where he was speaking.

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CNBC asked the audience during an interview with Alphabet CEO Eric Schmidt, "Hands up who uses an iPhone?"

Image: CNBC

Alphabet chairman Eric Schmidt fessed up yesterday that, yes, the head of the company behind Android uses a smartphone from Apple.

No one has ever caught Apple CEO Tim Cook using an Android phone, but the same can't be said for Eric Schmidt, one-time Apple board member, former CEO of Google, and now chairman of Google's parent company, Alphabet.

At the Startup Fest in Amsterdam yesterday, Schmidt revealed in an onstage interview with CNBC that he carried two smartphones: an Apple iPhone 6S and Samsung's Galaxy S7.

"I have a Samsung S7 and an iPhone 6S and the Samsung S7 is better: a better battery, and it has a better camera. So are we clear? And those of you who are iPhone users, I'm right," he told the audience to laughter.

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It's not the first time Schmidt's been seen in public with an iPhone. At a press event in South Korea earlier this year, Schmidt was caught taking snaps with an iPhone 6 or 6S. Schmidt was there as Google's DeepMind representative following its AI technology beating the Korean world champion Go player, Lee Sedol.

Besides, it's probably not a bad idea for Schmidt to know how Google's search and other apps are running on Apple's hardware, especially given the $1bn it paid Apple in 2014 to keep its Search as the default in Safari on iOS.

The same argument could apply to the Samsung Galaxy S7. Schmidt could use a Google Nexus running pure Android but it would make more sense for him to be familiar with how Google services operate on a far more widely used and customized Android smartphone like the Galaxy S7.

Schmidt also fielded one question about Europe's anti-competition charges over Android's dominance and Google's preferential treatment of its own shopping product search.

A show of hands at the conference revealed far more attendees were using an iPhone than to Android.

"So much for the Android monopoly in Europe," quipped Schmidt.

The EU in its statement of objections over Android said Android held a 90 percent share in Europe.

Regarding search, Schmidt said Google disagrees with the EU charges.

"From my perspective, it seems to me they're ignoring the enormous success of Amazon," he said.

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