Much is being made of the recent coffee klatch between Steve Jobs and Eric Schmidt; many pundits claiming it was a staged PR move. I think that’s likely the case, but it’s no worse for that…
The press would have you believe Apple and Google are ready to kill each other. We’re regaled with tales of Jobs blasting Schmidt for the (at the time) rumored Google phone. (We also got an earful of Schmidt’s alleged indiscretions and personality traits, “reporting” I can always do without.) Obviously, this kind of speculation is going to get a big fat “no comment” from either company.
So what happened? Both companies see the reporting but can’t lower themselves to answering mere rumors. Instead, one company’s PR group calls the other’s, they suggest getting the big wigs in public where they’ll be photoed, seemingly chatting over business. This idea is pitched to the men at the top, and they agree.
That last sentence is all the matters. For all their differences (which I believe exist), and for all the “hurt” Jobs may have over Google offering an iPhone-like device (I believe that exists, too), neither side is foolish enough to let it stop them, deviate from their path, or harm either company. They can set any of that aside and grab a cup of coffee for the sake of PR.
Think about it. What would make the better impression, a press release from both companies stating how much they love each other (that no one would believe), or a picture of the key individuals chatting together in public? Even if staged, the latter makes it clear the men at the top will do what it takes to keep this from hurting business. They at least agree on that, and it’s the most important agreement there is.