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Google’s Schmidt: Microsoft Surface could be meaningful ‘if the product works’

Google’s Schmidt: Microsoft Surface could be meaningful ‘if the product works’Eric Schmidt, Google’s executive chairman, delivered the obligatory Microsoft zingers tonight during an interview in New York with the Wall Street Journal’s Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher of AllThingsD, but this time one of his targets was new — Microsoft’s Surface tablet computer.

At one point during the interview, Mossberg brought up the upcoming launch of the Surface, pressing Schmidt for his thoughts on the meaning of Microsoft’s decision to make computer hardware.

“Isn’t this a historic moment?” Mossberg asked.

“It means a lot if the product works,” Schmidt said.

That was an apparent reference to the fact that Microsoft didn’t let journalists actually spend quality hands-on time with working Surface units during the unveiling of the new device earlier this year.

Google will compete with the Surface in some ways via Android tablets including its own Nexus 7.

At another point of the interview, Mossberg pressed Schmidt on why he doesn’t include Microsoft in his fabled “gang of four” key tech platform companies: Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon.

“Aren’t they a really important platform company?” Mossberg asked, referring to Microsoft.

“Let’s see what this new set of products does,” replied Schmidt. “You have reviewed Windows 8, you understand its quality and so forth and so on. Everyone I know has moved to the Mac in that space, so we’ll see how that plays out. They’re now behind. They’re a well-funded, smart, well-run company that have not been able to bring out state-of-the art products in the spaces we’re talking about yet.”

Here’s AllThingsD’s summary of the interview, and the archived video is below.

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