updated 12:55 pm EST, Tue February 1, 2011
Google chair not confirming, denying recruitment
Google chairman Eric Schmidt is sidestepping discussion of whether he might become the next Apple CEO. "In the first place, it's not appropriate. Steve [Jobs] is still the CEO and I hope he continues forever," Schmidt told CNBC in a Monday interview. In response to whether or not Apple has approached him to make an offer, however, Schmidt would neither confirm or deny the suggestion. "I'm not going to talk about private conversations with anybody," the chairman is quoted as saying.
Jobs is presently on an indefinite medical leave, also his third leave since 2004, when he was first treated for pancreatic cancer. The situation has prompted worries that Jobs might never return to the company full-time, leaving a critical gap given his past intimate involvement with daily operations. The executive was often said to provide micromanagement as well as broad directions on some projects.
Schmidt could be in a unique position to replace Jobs. Although Apple and Google have come into conflict in recent years, predominantly because of smartphone rivalry, the two companies are still closely connected through Google search and mapping features in Apple software. Schmidt also recently relinquished CEO duties at Google, which could put him in a position to jump to Apple if Jobs suddenly retires or dies.