Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt has said the ongoing battle between Apple and Google for supremacy in the mobile market is the "defining fight" in the IT industry.
Speaking at the AllThingsD conference on Wednesday Schmidt said that as the two firms wrestle for control of the mobile market, the overall winners would be end users.
"The Android-Apple platform fight is the defining fight in the industry today," he said.
"We've not seen platform/networks fights at this scale. The beneficiary is you guys [consumers]. Prices are dropping rapidly. That's a wonderful value proposition."
The comment underlines the animosity between the two firms that has grown over the last few years.
Schmidt used to sit on Apple's board but as the two firm's rivalry grew rapidly he stepped down, while former Apple chief executive Steve Jobs was furious with Android which he saw as a copy of the iOS operating system.
This has led to numerous high-profile patent cases between Apple and manufacturers using Android, notably Samsung, on issues of design and software.
Schmidt said he found the patent battles upsetting, calling them "death" for the industry.
"Software it always overlapping. There are estimates there are some 200,000 patents that covers devices in the market so we are seeing fight after fight based on prior art and in every case there is some prior art that invalidates a patent," he said.
"This is bad for innovation for the software industry, it eliminates choice."
Schmidt also discussed some of the firms other rivals and on the subject of Microsoft's attempt to fight back in the mobile market with Windows 8 he said he was unsure how it would pan out.
"Let's see what this new set of products does [on Windows 8]. Everyone I know has moved to the Mac in that space, so we will see how that plays out," he said.
"They [Microsoft] are a well-funded, smart, well-run company but they have not been able to bring out state-of-the-art products in the spaces we are talking about."
Microsoft has a lot riding on its Windows 8 software launch later this month, while Apple is reportedly set to unveil an iPad Mini device in a few weeks to compete with devices like the Galaxy Nexus 7 tablet unveiled by Google earlier this year.
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