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Monday, March 5, 2007

Google CEO discounts mergers, sees more Apple ties

Google CEO discounts mergers, sees more Apple ties


(Adds CEO comments on mergers, growing Apple ties, byline)

By Eric Auchard

SAN FRANCISCO, March 5 (Reuters) - Google Inc. (GOOG.O: Quote, Profile, Research) is spinning off mounds of cash from operations, but Chief Executive Eric Schmidt appeared to rule out seeking big mergers or making other dramatic changes in how the company uses cash.

Speaking to investors at the Morgan Stanley Technology Conference, Schmidt also said discussion of mergers with with other major Internet players was premature as the Web advertising industry remains in its early stages of growth.

He signaled that Google, the world's dominant Web search provider, is working more closely with Apple Inc. (AAPL.O: Quote, Profile, Research), the pace setter in the consumer electronics world. The Google chief executive joined the board of directors of Apple last year.

Schmidt was asked by an investor to comment on rumors Google could be developing an Internet communications device to compete with Apple's highly anticipated iPhone, which blends phone, computer and Internet features in one device.

"I don't want to comment on rumors," he said, then added: "I will tell you that Google and Apple are doing more and more things together through the normal course of communications ... We have similar goals and similar competitors." Continued...

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