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Alphabet exec Eric Schmidt uses an iPhone, but thinks the Galaxy S7 is better

Eric Schmidt is one of the most important figures when it comes to Google and Alphabet’s history. He served as CEO of Google from 2001 to 2011, and is now the executive chairman at Alphabet, Google’s newly formed parent company. Google, of course, is the company behind Android.

Given his deep involvement with Google, it’s somewhat of a surprise to hear that Schmidt actually uses an iPhone — and he’s proud of it. In an interview with CNBC, Schmidt recently said that he was an iPhone 6S user. Despite this, he says he’s still a huge fan of Samsung’s devices.

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“Samsung S7 is better. It has a better battery. And those of you who are iPhone users (know) I’m right,” said Schmidt during the interview. That’s right, instead of recommending a Nexus, or any device with stock Android, he chose Samsung — a company that changes more about Android than most others.

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard of Schmidt using an iPhone. He was spotted using one at a press event in South Korea back in March.

Schmidt was traveling in Seoul, South Korea, as a representative for DeepMind, Google’s artificial intelligence system, which ended up defeating one of the best professional players in the world of Go, an ancient and popular Chinese board game. DeepMind’s AlphaGo software bested Go champion Lee Sedol in a five-game series in March, and Schmidt was seen using the iPhone at the press conference for the event.

While the news may be surprising to some, it’s not completely unexpected. After Android was launched, Schmidt was seen using a Blackberry, even saying that he preferred using the Blackberry because of the physical keyboard. Just because his company owns Android, that doesn’t mean that he personally has to be an Android user. In fact, you could even argue that as a key figure in a major company, it’s important to be familiar with the competition.

Not only that, but Schmidt actually served on the Apple board from 2006-2009, stepping down only because of a conflict in interest as competition between the two companies began heating up.

Schmidt isn’t the first to use smartphones from the competition. Microsoft Windows Phone VP Joe Belfiore was also spotted using an iPhone during some time that he took off to travel. He argued that it was important for him to get acquainted with the competition and to understand the mobile ecosystem on a deeper level.

Updated on 05-24-2016 by Christian de Looper: Added Eric Schmidt’s comments about his preference for the Samsung Galaxy S7.