Resign from Apple’s Board? Steve and I Will Be Sure to (Cough) Take Your Advice to Heart (Snicker).
“Eric is obviously doing a terrific job as CEO of Google, and we look forward to his contributions as a member of Apple’s board of directors. Like Apple, Google is very focused on innovation and we think Eric’s insights and experience will be very valuable in helping to guide Apple in the years ahead.”
–Apple CEO Steve Jobs, August 2006
“Apple is one of the companies in the world that I most admire. I’m really looking forward to working with Steve and Apple’s board to help with all of the amazing things Apple is doing.”
–Google CEO Eric Schmidt, August 2006
Google chief Eric Schmidt has some words of advice for outsiders insisting he should recuse himself from Apple’s board of directors following the unveiling of Chrome OS, an operating system that will presumably compete with Apple’s Mac OS X: You can have my Apple board seat when you pry it from my cold, dead hands.
Speaking at the Allen & Co. Sun Valley conference, Schmidt, who has been an Apple director since 2006, said he sees “no issue” with him keeping his board seat. “I recused myself from iPhone because it was a direct competitor,” he said, acknowledging that he no longer participates in mobile phone discussions at Apple board meetings because of conflicts of interest. “But there is no change at the moment….I’ll talk to the Apple people. At the moment, there’s no issue.”
And if one should arise? If Apple (AAPL) should look askance at Google’s (GOOG) decision to launch its own OS? Or if the Federal Trade Commission probe into whether Schmidt’s seat on the Apple board of directors violates federal law picks up some traction? Well, does anyone really think that Schmidt won’t be able to keep his seat? C’mon.
As John Gruber noted over at Daring Fireball earlier this week, “I don’t understand why so many outsiders are concerned about this. If Steve Jobs and the other members of Apple’s board think Schmidt’s spot on the board poses a competitive conflict of interest, they’ll ask him to leave. If they don’t, then what’s the problem? Does [anyone] really believe he has a better grasp of Apple’s competitive position versus Google than Jobs? Does [anyone] think Jobs is too shy or polite to confront Schmidt?”