Apple’s Jobs and Google’s Schmidt: Let’s do coffee
An unusual — and unverified — photograph posted on the Internet by Gizmodo is triggering a minor sensation in tech circles. Google and Apple may be at war, but — if this snapshot of CEOs Steve Jobs and Eric Schmidt casually chatting over a coffee is to be believed — the generals of the two tech superpowers may have discussed matters of state via an intimate, streetside tete-a-tete on Friday.
According to Gizmodo, a perspicacious passer-by spotted Jobs and Schmidt at a restaurant in Palo Alto, California on Friday and duly relayed the resulting photos to the tech blog.
For those who haven’t been following Silicon’s Valley favorite new drama: Jobs and Schmidt once sat on Apple’s board together and were allied in the battle against software giant Microsoft. But in recent years, the two chieftains have positioned their companies against each other, in markets like smartphones, mobile advertising and PC operating systems. And, according to some accounts, the relationship between the two has taken a turn for the worse.
Thus, the seeming news of a pow-wow between the two bigwigs (with Jobs of course clad in his trademark black turtleneck) was cause for speculation across the blogosphere.
Was it a sign of detente between two hostile tech titans? A Sopranos-like “sit-down” to negotiate appropriate reparations for past grievances? Or something else?
The intrigue was stoked further by the snippets of conversation overheard by the eavesdropper and reprinted on Gizmodo.
“They’re going to see it eventually, so who cares how they get it,” Jobs reportedly told Google’s CEO in a comment that apparently seemed to relate to Web content. As a crowd of onlookers began to mass, Jobs then suggested they take their conversation somewhere more private, Gizmodo said.
Some blogs remarked that the sit-down had the air of a staged photo-op. The famously secretive Jobs has in the past reportedly gone so far as to don a special disguise for a restaurant outing, making the sight of him casually sipping coffee — in plain sight — particularly incongruous.
Others focused on the more mundane details, such as the curious rip in Jobs’ jeans, and the black object on the table.