Google CEO Rejected From App Store
“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
Asked earlier this year if he would resign from Apple’s board in the face of Federal Trade Commission scrutiny of the close ties between the two companies’ boards of directors, Google CEO Eric Schmidt replied simply, “It hasn’t crossed my mind.”
Well, apparently it has now.
“Eric has been an excellent Board member for Apple, investing his valuable time, talent, passion and wisdom to help make Apple successful,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “Unfortunately, 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 Apple’s Board.”
“I have very much enjoyed my time on the Apple board,” Schmidt said in a statement of his own. “It’s a fantastic company. But as Apple explained today we’ve agreed it makes sense for me to step down now.”
A wise move. Schmidt’s boardroom role was already reduced because of competitive issues between the iPhone and Android and between Safari and Chrome. Given the obvious competitive issues between the Mac and Google operating systems, it is inevitable that his board involvement would shrink again. Had he retained his seat, Schmidt would have likely spent more time standing outside Apple’s boardroom than in it.
So why bother? Better to step down and avoid the appearance of impropriety, especially when regulators seem to be singling Google (GOOG) out for all manner of scrutiny. Certainly, Apple (AAPL) must be relieved to have the guy with the FTC target on his back out of the boardroom.
And relations between the two companies must have been a bit strained by this Google Voice for iPhone debacle.