As far as the carriers go, Schmidt took offense at a question from the audience that asked if Google plans on using the carriers as a dumbpipe, sending Google services through the system to the end user. Schmidt replied, "In the first place, I feel very, very strongly that we depend on the successful businesses of the operators globally, and I disagree with you that quote 'we're trying to turn the operators into a dumb pipe.'"
Operators are crucial to handle issues like security, dynamic signaling, and load balancing, the CEO noted. When asked if 5 years down the road, would cellphone users be considered customers of Google or of Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint, the Google CEO said that felt that the user would be both a customer of his firm and the carriers. "The relationship that the
operator is going to have with the device is going to get much more
sophisticated. The operator will have … the billing relationship, the
support relationship, an educational relationship, a platform
relationship, if you will," Schmidt said. "Google will also know more
about the customer because it benefits the customer to tell Google more
about them. The more we know about the customer, the better the quality
of searches; the better the quality of the apps. They're different,
however. The operator one is required, and the Google one will be
optional. And today I would say the minority choose to [opt in], but I
think over time a majority will."