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Google's Schmidt says Android more secure than the iPhone

Google chair Eric Schmidt raised eyebrows and got a few unintentional laughs on Monday when he said that Google's Android platform is more secure than Apple's iPhone.

Schmidt's remarks came in the course of a question-and-answer session at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo, according to ZDNet. A Gartner analyst said to Schmidt that most people in the audience would not name Android as their primary platform and went on to note the operating system's notorious security problems.

"Not secure?" Schmidt countered. "It's more secure than the iPhone."

According to reports, Schmidt did not elaborate on those remarks, instead going on to cite Android's billion-strong activation numbers. That figure, he claimed, led to considerable real-world security testing. When the Gartner analyst again raised the issue toward the end of the session, Schmidt remained firm.

"Android is very secure," Schmidt said to some chuckling from both the audience and the analyst.

Google has over the years built new security features into its mobile platform, but the number of malware attacks on Google's operating system continues to grow. Comparatively, Apple's iOS platform accounts for a small percentage of attacks, due in part to Apple's strict control over the apps that are published in its App Store.

The enterprise segment in particular has noted that security gap, and Apple continues to grow in that sector, despite Android's overall market share lead in mobile. The addition of Touch ID — the biometric scanner built into the iPhone 5s — is seen by some as a means of expanding Apple's security lead.