updated 08:50 am EDT, Mon August 3, 2009
Schmidt Leaves Apple Board
Apple today revealed that Google chief Eric Schmidt has resigned from Apple's Board of Directors. The executive had held a position for three years but is leaving due to a conflict of interest triggered by the unveiling of Chrome OS, which now puts Google in direct competition with Mac OS X. Apple CEO Steve Jobs characterized the departure as unwanted but necessary given how often it would force Schmidt to leave Apple meetings discussing strategy.
"Eric has been an excellent Board member for Apple, investing his valuable time, talent, passion and wisdom to help make Apple successful," Jobs said in a statement. "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."
Schmidt's presence has often been credited with helping to integrate multiple Google services into Apple's products, such as Google Maps and YouTube on the iPhone and in certain iLife apps, such as iMovie. Google's own efforts have often been friendlier in less direct ways, such as encoding all YouTube videos in H.264 such that iPhones could play them without requiring Flash.
While Android is the most likely to run headlong into competition with the iPhone as they both target Internet-dependent smartphone users, Chrome OS may not directly compete with Mac OS X when the former ships later in 2010. It's primarily aimed at netbooks and other low-end systems where users can use web apps to accomplish most of their goals instead of the native software and high-end computers that are Apple's specialty.