A few hours ago, Google’s Eric Schmidt sat down for an interview with Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher. During the 60 minute conversation, Schmidt talked about Apple and Google Maps, patent wars and his experience of self-driving car.

Eric Schmidt interview

Schmidt, Mossberg and Swisher started the conversation with a discussion of the four big tech companies. Schmidt identified the four companies as Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN), Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), and Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG). When a question was asked to Schmidt about why he left out Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) in this list, he said that the omission was deliberate because the company failed to bring “state of the art products into the field.”

The conversation quickly switched to maps. Schmidt said that “Apple has learned that maps are hard”. He added that Apple has spent over 5 years investing in its map app. “Apple should have kept our maps,” Schmidt said. “They’re better maps.”

“We invested hundred of millions of dollars in satellite work, air-plane work, drive-by work, and we think we have the best product in the industry.”

When Schmidt was asked if Google plans on releasing Google Map app for iOS 6, he said that he would not pre-announce any product. However, he expressed uncertainty about whether Apple would approve Google’s map app in the App Store. “They haven’t approved all of Google’s offerings over the years,” he said.

Schmidt proudly said that Android platform is larger than Apple. There are four times more Android phones than Apple phones. 500 million phones are already in use and 1.3 million devices are activated each day, which is far more than Apple’s numbers. Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) will hit a huge figure of 1 billion mobile devices in a year. Ultimately, the customer is the one who benefits from this competition.

When talking about patents, Schmidt says that these patent wars gets upsets him. Schmidt says ‘they are a disaster for all of us.’ Patent wars are bad for innovation and companies are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to fight these fights against patent trolls. When asked about the Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (ADR) (LON:BC94) and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) patent case, he said that he doesn’t want to comment on the jury’s decision. “The victims here are not Google and Apple. It is the little companies that can’t acquire patents to protect themselves.”

Schmidt says that ““The world doesn’t need more copycat products; it needs innovative products.”

The interview wrapped up with talks of integrated software/hardware devices such as the Microsoft Surface. The world is seeing an evolution into integrated hardware and software, as Google has shown with its Chromebooks.

Self driving cars were also da topic of conversation, and Schmidt says that his experience of self driving cars was “lfe changing”.

You can check out full interview at AllThingsD