FTC to Google CEO, Apple: Nice Try
Google CEO Eric Schmidt’s resignation from Apple’s board this morning was a nice gesture, but it’s not going to end the Federal Trade Commission’s investigation of the ties between the Google and Apple boards.
In a statement issued this afternoon, the FTC applauded the move, but said the two companies are foolish if they think it will simply abandon its inquiry as a result.
“We have been investigating the Google/Apple interlocking directorates issue for some time and commend them for recognizing that sharing directors raises competitive issues, as Google and Apple increasingly compete with each other,” said Bureau of Competition Director Richard Feinstein. “We will continue to investigate remaining interlocking directorates between the companies.”
In other words, Schmidt’s departure was a nice start, but the Commission still worries that Google (GOOG) director Arthur Levinson’s presence on Apple’s (AAPL) board–as well as that of Google advisers Bill Campbell and Al Gore–might lead to conflicts of interest or unfair business practices.
So who’ll be the next to leave: Levinson or Gore?