Google and Apple Break Ties - The UpStream

Google and Apple Break Ties

posted Saturday Aug 8, 2009 by Scott Ertz

Google and Apple Break Ties

For a long time Google and Apple have had an interesting relationship. Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google has sat on the Apple board of directors. Not that it is unusual for executives to do this when two companies want things from one another, but this must have been a strained relationship for a long time.

Both make web browsers (Safari/Chrome), phone platforms (iPhone/Android), operating systems (MacOS/Chrome OS), music players (iPod/Android) and several other overlaps. At this point, I would imagine Steve Jobs probably doesn't let Eric Schmidt stay for much of the board meetings, because other than hardware, the two companies are now adversaries.

That being said, this week Apple announced that Eric is leaving the board. They said in the press release:

Eric has been an excellent Board member for Apple, investing his valuable time, talent, passion and wisdom to help make Apple successful. 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.

The other possibility here is that Jobs asked him to leave because Google is pissed over Apple's decision to block the Google Voice app form the iPhone Store. This battle is going to be epic, and we will continue to follow it wherever it may go (to space).

What do you think is going on here? Did he resign or was he asked to leave? Is it purely over conflict of interest, or did Google piss off Apple with the Voice app? Weigh in in the comments section.

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