Just a day before Samsung is expected to roll out its next flagship smartphone running Google's Android, Apple's marketing chief is starting a spin cycle.
In a brief interview with the Wall Street Journal this afternoon, Apple's marketing chief Phil Schiller slammed Google's smartphone platform, calling it fragmented, difficult to use, and suggesting that phones running Android are typically given out as free, entry-level devices by carriers.
"When you take an Android device out of the box, you have to sign up to nine accounts with different vendors to get the experience iOS comes with," Schiller told The Journal. "They don't work seamlessly together."
Schiller added that the company's internal research had shown that four times the number of users were coming from Android as their platform versus those leaving iOS for Android in the fourth quarter.
The comments come after a rare jab by Schiller on Twitter last week, pointing to a report from security firm F-Secure Labs that highlighted a prevalence of malware on Google's Android. "Be safe out there," Schiller said. In the interview, Schiller took a chance to focus on quality instead, saying that Android devices are "often given [as] a free replacement for a feature phone and the experience isn't as good as an iPhone"
Apple's biggest rival Samsung -- which it continues to battle with in court -- holds a press conference tomorrow night in New York to unveil the fourth version of its Galaxy S smartphone. That popularity of that line, and other devices has helped make Samsung the top mobile phone vendor in the U.S. since 2008, according to Strategy Analytics. Apple managed to beat out Samsung for that title for the first time in the fourth quarter of 2012 with combined sales of the iPhone 4S and iPhone 5.
While unclear if it's related, Schiller's interview comes just hours after Google announced an executive shakeup that puts Sundar Pichai, a nine-year Google veteran, in charge of Android in place of Andy Rubin. Google today said Rubin will stay on at Google, but was unclear about his role on other projects or products.
Schiller and other Apple executives rarely do interviews. Most of Apple's public messaging comes during company product launches and with analysts during quarterly earnings conference calls. Apple CEO Tim Cook has also appeared on stage at the D conference series and twice now at the Goldman Sachs Internet and Technology conference in San Francisco.