Apple, Inc. announced today that Google’s CEO, Eric Schmidt, has resigned from Apple’s board of directors. Schmidt has held the position since August 2006, as you can see by August 29th, 2006 announcement of him joining the board.
Why did Schmidt resign? “Eric’s effectiveness as an Apple Board member will be significantly diminished,” due to the Google entering more of “Apple’s core businesses,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. Specifically, Jobs was talking about Android and Chrome OS.
Here is the statement release by Apple today:
“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.”
Postscript from Greg Sterling: We wrote previously about the “interlocking directors” investigation that the US Department of Justice was doing as one of three anti-trust-related inquiries directed at Google. Apple and Google still share one common director who I would guess will also resign from one of the companies.
As recently as May, Schmidt dismissed the notion that he had sufficient conflicts of interest to compel resignation. However his resignation became increasingly inevitable as Google entered more of Apple’s lines of business: mobile OS (Android), browser and then PC operating system. Danny Sullivan detailed some of these conflicts in his Fights In The Google Monopoly Debate Miss Key Points post.
My guess is that the FCC inquiry into Apple’s recent rejection of the Google Voice app for the iPhone was the event that triggered the decision to resign.