The Google - Apple wars move to China

Perhaps it was best that Google (GOOG) CEO Eric Schmidt left the Apple (AAPL) board last week. Google immediately announced that it would buy On2 (ONT), a video compression company, a possible threat to Apple's Quicktime media player franchise. Now Google is preparing to challenge Apple in the Chinese handset market.

According to the Financial Times, "China Mobile, the world's largest mobile operator by subscribers, will fire the opening shot in a battle for high-value subscribers with the launch of the 3G OPhone, which runs the Android source code." The number of cellular customers in China is at least double that in the U.S., so success on the mainland is critical to the hopes of any handset operating system business.