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Google to support Android firms in lawsuits

Google has said it will continue to offer support to firms using its Android system that are involved in legal disputes.

Executive chairman Eric Schmidt made the comments during a tour of Taipei, adding that the company also "wanted to serve China's citizens within the limits the government allowed" after falling out with China over hacking and censorship disputes.

"We tell our partners, including the ones here in Taiwan, we will support them," Schmidt said

"For example we have been supporting HTC in its dispute with Apple because we think that the Apple thing is not correct."

The support takes the form of information sharing, industry expertise and access to Google's patents for licensing and legal purposes, Schmidt said.

Samsung Electronics, the world's biggest maker of mobile devices using Android, and Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC, are both involved in patent disputes with Apple.

Some analysts see the disputes as Apple's way of attacking the Android system.

Apple co-founder Steve Jobs was quoted as saying in his authorised biography that he wanted to "destroy" Android, which has become the most popular smartphone platform.

Schmidt's visit also comes as Asian Android vendors are preparing to release their latest models based on Microsoft's Windows platform, seeking to diversify and reduce the risk of being depending too heavily on Google.

"Android hardware companies and supply chain are mostly from Taiwan," said Concord Securities analyst Ming Chi Kuo.

"The main purpose of Schmidt's trip for this time should be to gain more support and closer collaboration with the Taiwanese here.

"Taiwanese vendors have been users of Windows operating system in the past, especially the handset vendors, so Google has to come here to get more support for its applications in the tablets and, possibly, personal computers in the future."

An anonymous executive of one Taiwanese company who met Schmidt this week said he raised concerns over the patent disputes surrounding Android and Schmidt acknowledged the issue .

Schmidt, in his second visit to Korea, had met executives from handset manufacturers Samsung and LG Electronics, in a move widely seen as reassuring his alliances with handset manufacturers.

Google's $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility Holdings, announced in August, raised concerns it may become a key rival of Android licensees.

Schmidt also visited Beijing during his trip.

Google closed its Chinese Google.cn service last year after a high-profile fallout with Beijing over censorship and began re-directing all traffic to its Hong Kong server.

Google said in June this year that a hacking attack on its Gmail email service may have come from China, drawing a sharp rebuke from Beijing.

Google is still "having a growing and profitable business in China" with its display and search services, Schmidt said.

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