Jobs and Schmidt: Conflicts of Interest

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2009-05-02 Print this article Print

No matter what happens in this race for viewers, Apple co-founder and CEO Jobs won't have to worry. He has hedged his bets and is safely planted on both sides of the video fence. So is Schmidt, CEO of Google, which owns YouTube. Thus, both have conflicts of interest in their personal portfolios.

Jobs, who's currently recuperating from serious health issues, sold his Pixar animation studio business to Disney in January 2009 and subsequently became the single largest stockholder of the huge corporation. He now has a stake in Hulu.

Think of those Pixar movies-"Toy Story," "Finding Nemo," "Cars" and others-and all the ABC network television shows that will become available on Hulu, competing directly with the iTunes video store. In the long term, if Hulu grows with the new investments, Job's own iTunes video model stands to lose money.

"Over time, perhaps the direct payment model [will go] away," Gartner analyst Michael McGuire told BusinessWeek. So Jobs' conflict is this: He needs to see both iTunes and Hulu succeed, but they are, in fact, competitors.

Curiously, Schmidt-an iTunes competitor through YouTube-joined the board of directors of Apple on April 29. As a board member, he is pledged to help iTunes succeed; as Google CEO, his job is to make YouTube succeed.

It says in the Good Book that no man can serve two masters. Jobs and Schmidt certainly have conflicts, but at this point it does not appear that there is anything illegal about their involvements.

Apple, by the way, had no comment on any of these business shenanigans when eWEEK called to ask. Nor did anybody else.

Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

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