UPDATED: Citing the increased competition of Android with the iPhone and Chrome OS with Mac OS X, Apple said that Google CEO Eric Schmidt has resigned from Apple's board of directors. The move comes just a few days after the Federal Communications Commission sent letters to Google, Apple and AT&T inquiring why Apple denied the Google Voice application from its iPhone App Store.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs said that Google CEO
Eric Schmidt has resigned
from Apple's board of directors, citing the fact that
Google's Android mobile operating system and forthcoming Chrome operating system
compete with Apple's iPhone and Mac OS X desktop computing OS, respectively.
Jobs said in a statement Aug. 3
"As Google enters more of Apple's core businesses, with Android and now
Chrome OS, 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. Therefore, we have
mutually decided that now is the right time for Eric to resign his position on
Schmidt said in a statement, "I have very much enjoyed my time on the
Apple board," adding, "It's a fantastic company. But as Apple
explained today we've agreed it makes sense for me to step down now."
Schmidt, who had said he would not step down
because he didn't view the companies as
competing, had held a seat on Apple's board since August 2006. This union of
Google and Apple had been seen by Google and Apple fans as a countermeasure to
Microsoft, the desktop computing software market leader.
Still, antitrust experts have questioned this stance, noting that Google and Apple
competing in mobile and desktop computing segments.
Enderle Group analyst Rob Enderle told eWEEK:
"Eric Schmidt has a problem that I think strikes many CEOs; he is
enthralled with his newfound celebrity. At Sun and Novell, no one really cared that
much about him, and now at Google he is a star. The Apple board seat was one of
the perks of being a star, and he didn't want to give it up; it is like being a
member of a very exclusive club and you get to rub elbows with Al Gore, another
celebrity. Steve Jobs was out and still not at full health and was simply not
in a position to force the issue, and I doubt anyone else has the power to
force a board change at Apple. He should have resigned for conflict issues as
soon as Google decided to enter Apple's space; the iPhone is strategic after
But the timing of this move is curious. Android has been in the market on
the T-Mobile G1 smartphone since last October, but with just about 1.5 million
G1s shipped, the phone is hardly seen as a major threat to the iPhone, which
has sold millions. The T-Mobile myTouch 3G powered by Google launches this
the Chrome OS in July, but that OS is still
possibly a year away from appearing on netbooks.
One possible reason for the sudden move has nothing to do with either
Android or Chrome OS. Google and Apple have become embroiled in a battle of
competing smartphone applications in recent weeks.