Google CEO Schmidt steps down from Apple board

Schmidt's effectiveness as an Apple Board member will be "significantly diminished"

It was only a matter of time, but Google CEO Eric Schmidt has resigned from Apple's board of directors.

Schmidt, who joined Google in 2001, has served Apple's board since August 2006.

A statement from Apple fully acknowledges that the two companies are increasingly competing in the same spaces, particularly with Google's Android-powered phones and upcoming Chrome OS taking on the iPhone and Macs, respectively.

"Unfortunately, as Google enters more of Apple's core businesses . . . Eric's effectiveness as an Apple Board member will be significantly diminished, since he will have to recuse himself from even larger portions of our meetings due to potential conflicts of interest," Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs said. "Therefore, we have mutually decided that now is the right time for Eric to resign his position on Apple's Board."

The U.S. government was reportedly on the way to reaching a similar conclusion. In May, a New York Times story said the Federal Trade Commission was investigating the shared members between Apple's and Google's boards as a potential violation of the Clayton Antitrust Act of 1914. Schmidt said at the time that he doubted the government would find anything wrong about the situation. Earlier this month, Reuters reported that Schmidt was thinking of leaving.

In addition to Schmidt, former Genetech CEO Arthur Levinson serves on both boards. The announcement by Apple makes no mention of Levinson.

Apple's also taking heat for blocking Google Voice apps from the iPhone's App Store. The FTC was quick to act there, investigating the situation just days after the event. That issue is more about Apple's store policies than any relationship with Google, but the drama illustrates how the two companies are increasingly at odds, and how it's landing on the radar of regulators.

It's hard to imagine many situations in which Schmidt wouldn't recuse himself during an Apple board meeting. In addition to competing on handset and computer operating systems, the companies also butt heads on applications such as Web browsers (Chrome and Safari), productivity software (iWork vs. Google Docs and other apps) and video services (YouTube and iTunes), among others. Regardless of whether the shared board members violates the law, Apple is better served with a board member who can actually participate.

With Apple and Google pushing away from each other, the question now is whether we'll see more bad blood between the two companies. Google has recently begun sniping at Microsoft in an ad campaign. Apple could be next.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags AppleGoogleAndroidiPhoneeric schmidt

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jared Newman

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?