SEOUL (Reuters) - The executive chairman of Google Inc on Tuesday played down concerns the search giant would give preferential treatment to Motorola Mobility Holdings after its planned purchase of the handset maker is completed.
Asia is home to Samsung Electronics Co, the world's biggest vendor making mobile devices using Google's free Android software. Google's $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola, announced in August, raised concerns Google may become a key rival of Android licensees.
"In general, with all of our partners, we told them that the Motorola deal will close and we will run it sufficiently and independently, that it will not violate the openness of Android...we're not going to change in any material way the way we operate," Eric Schmidt told reporters on his visit to South Korea on Tuesday.
His comments were widely seen as reassuring his alliances with handset manufacturers including Samsung and HTC Corp. The two flagship Android vendors are in patent disputes with Apple as the iPhone maker seeks to curb Android's strong growth, which has become the most popular mobile platform.
In response to a question on criticism by the late Apple co-founder, Steve Jobs, that Android phones ripped off its flagship iPhone, Schmidt said, "the Android effort started before the iPhone effort."
"I've decided not to comment on what's been written on a book after his death. Steve is a fantastic human being and someone who I miss very dearly. As a general comment, I think most people would agree that Google is a great innovator and I would also point out that the Android effort started before the iPhone effort," Schmidt said.
In his authorised biography released last month, Jobs said, "I will spend my last dying breath if I need to...to right this wrong. I'm going to destroy Android, because it's a stolen product. I'm willing to go to thermonuclear war on this."
Schmidt, in his second visit to Korea, met executives from handset manufacturers Samsung and LG Electronics as well as mobile carriers SK Telecom, KT Corp and LG Uplus.
He also met South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and said Google will open a channel dedicated to Korean pop music on YouTube, Google's video-sharing website, to help spread the "Korean wave," the presidential office said on Monday.
Schmidt's Asian tour later includes Taipei and Beijing.
(Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin and Joonhee Yu; Editing by Miyoung Kim and Matt Driskill)