Google's Schmidt Resigns From Apple Board - InformationWeek
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Google's Schmidt Resigns From Apple Board

Apple announced the departure of Google CEO Eric Schmidt on Monday, citing potential conflicts of interest.

The overlap of Apple's and Google's smartphone and operating system technologies has prompted Google chief executive Eric Schmidt to resign from Apple's board of directors.

Announced Monday by Apple, Schmidt has served on Apple's board since August of 2006. Apple said Schmidt's departure was mutual.

"Unfortunately, as Google enters more of Apple' 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," said Apple CEO Steve Jobs in a statement. "Eric has been an excellent Board member for Apple, investing his valuable time, talent, passion and wisdom to help make Apple successful."

As recently as May, Schmidt said he had no plans to resign from the Apple board.

Schmidt's departure comes as Apple and Google are involved in a spat in which Google Voice was blocked from Apple's iPhone App Store. The FCC has opened an investigation into the blocking. At the same time, the FCC and members of Congress have complained about the exclusive arrangements carriers have in marketing mobile phones to consumers and the arrangements are getting closer scrutiny.

Google and Apple were increasingly on a competitive collision course as Google's Android mobile phone platform picked up more and more firms making phones based on Google's mobile phone operating system. While there has been little direct competition between the iPhone and Android phones to date, there have been reports of an Android phone similar to the iPhone in the works. Motorola, for instance, which once led the way in mobile phones, is making a big bet on the Android platform for a family of handsets set to be unveiled in the coming months.

Google's recently-unveiled Chrome OS, too, is expected to eventually compete with Apple's operating systems.

Schmidt has long held prominent and visible positions at computer companies. And, he was a member of President Obama's transition advisory board.

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