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

Given Schmidt's involvement with Google, it would be somewhat a surprise to see him out in the wild using an iPhone. Well, that's exactly what happened. Schmidt was spotted at a press event in South Korea taking photos with an iPhone.

Related: Alphabet comes before Apple: Google’s parent now most valuable company in the world

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 players in the world of Weiqi, an ancient and popular Chinese board game. DeepMind played Weiqi champion Lee Se-dol twice, and at the press conference for the event, Schmidt was seen using the iPhone.

 

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.