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Google’s Schmidt: Internet Winning in Tough Times

Thursday, 26 Jan 2012 | 11:32 AM ET

The Internet is more resilient to the economic downturn than other industries, Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman of Google told CNBC in Davos on Thursday, and it will continue to create opportunities for “alarmingly interesting” things

Eric Schmidt
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Eric Schmidt

“The Internet continues to win whether it’s a tough time or a booming time," Schmidt said.

"In a tough time like this you can use the Internet to substitute less expensive ways of reaching your customers. Advertising is less expensive, it’s more effective. So the Internet does not seem to be as affected as other industries,” he added.

“There is a lot of concern that the European problem will ultimately touch all of the countries of the world,” he said, including China.

“In the United States of course you have a slow recovery…and in Europe they seem to have decided all by themselves… to simultaneously have a recession, the Google chairman said.

Schmidt said the world now has four “massive network-scalable platforms” — which is how he describes Facebook, Apple , Amazon and Google.

The world has never had four such platforms “that are growing as quickly as they are in terms of their reach and ability to do things.”

“Each of these companies I think are well run. If you look at their path over the last year they’ve been very, very innovative and that’s likely to continue for a few years,” Schmidt said.

Over a five-year perspective, we should assume that there will be more, according to Schmidt. “(We should assume) that the Internet creates opportunities for these massive new ways of doing things. Things that are “alarmingly interesting.”

Schmidt said the next major Internet technology trends would still focus on devices, “phones and things that look like phones.”

“Prices are going to fall dramatically, he said, “which is really good news for most of the world.”

“Phones that are powerful like the ones we have now will end up at $60-$70, which makes them affordable for a billion or few people,” Schmidt said.

Those phones will increasingly be thought of as having access to information and services such as health monitoring or education, he added.

“People will rely on mobile phones in fundamental ways,” Schmidt said.

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