33 Comments

Summary:

Google CEO Eric Schmidt has resigned from the board of Apple. “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,” Steve jobs said in a company statement. The way I see it, Jobs showed him the door.

ericEric Schmidt, chief executive officer of Google, has resigned from the board of Apple, the company said 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,” 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.”

The way I see it, he got shown the door by Jobs. Back in May, Schmidt said he had no plans to resign from Apple’s board. (Take our poll below the fold)

Over the last few days, as the Google Voice apps fiasco has taken on a life of its own, I have been busy pointing out that this battle was between Apple and Google.

I believe that AT&T has become a piñata in the high-stakes war being waged by Apple and Google. Why do we believe that these two companies are not in competition with each other? Is it because Eric Schmidt sits on the Apple board? This battle between Google and Apple is going to get very ugly — as it should. Both companies have pinned their futures on smartphones.

Jobs’ statement and Schmidt’s exit from the board all but confirms it. The matter might have come to a head over the FCC’s investigation into the Google Voice Apps fiasco. I am not ready to rule out that “given Google’s increasing presence in Washington as a lobbying superpower, one can’t rule out Google’s silent hand in this investigation.”

The way I see it, Apple should take these hostilities one step further: Kick out Google Maps from the core of its service and replace it with Yahoo Maps. And as for search, there is this thing called Bing… (Hat tip, The Wall Street Journal.)

Image courtesy of Google.

  1. Coitus Interruptus Monday, August 3, 2009

    Yippee! I’m loving this. Next to go – that obnoxious Cosmetics lady.

    Share
  2. This should have happened long back. Let the battle of the titans begin.

    Share
  3. It’s definitely an interesting turn of events, along with everything that’s happened in the last week over the multiple Google Voice app removals. This is where the rubber meets the road/shit hits the fan. Can Apple maneuver around the major issues the App Store approval process is causing for developers? Or are they going to end up making the same mistakes they did in the OS wars, trying to maintain too much control, and ultimately losing the key advantages they currently posses as a result?

    Share
  4. Apple could chose to go more hostile but will not be able to avoid google launching services accessible from the browser. I am not sure Apple will be ready to go for that war with google yet.
    Apple may not choose to go with Yahoo/Bing immediately as they have had the love-hate relationship with Microsoft as well.

    If the FCC investigation gets any further, Google may as well have their way and get the Google Voice apps on iPhone. Although I am in UK, and so cannot use Google Voice immediately but I certainly would love to see Apple autocracy with regards to the App Store go.

    Share
    1. Another reason not to go with Yahoo – lesson from the past example of Ask.com (AskJeeves back then.) Ask.com had to decide to go with Google or another company (I believe it was Overture) for ads. Ask.com went with their search competitor, Google, and were initially criticized/mocked for it. However, it turned out to be the right move in lifting them out of losing money. That got the company to do something they haven’t done before – turning a profit. This is the one decision that helped them survive, while other dot-coms of that early internet era bombed.

      Sometimes, it is a win-win situation to cooperate with competitors – “coopetition”. The relationship between U.S. and China is another example of coopetition during the current global economic crisis.

      Share
  5. No surprises there.
    One change though, it could be Eric’s decision rather than Jobs showing him the door.
    APPLE cannot afford to fight with Google on all fronts ( technology, financial power, company culture….).

    This will start a new battle in mobile platforms.
    Its now confusing who is fighting whom with the likes of RIM, Microsoft ,PALM joining Google and APPLE.

    I am loving it.
    Good for the customer.
    My gut feeling is Google is going to survive along with APPLE and PALM.
    Microsoft might be history with RIM struggling to keep up with the above on mobile features.

    Share
  6. Om,
    Switching to Yahoo or Bing is a bold move which will anger the 20 plus million iPhone users, we are talking democracy here :-).

    Share
    1. Democracy and Apple… what is wrong with you…. ;-) Seriously I think it might be a good way for Microsoft to get everything going.

      Share
      1. Om,
        Agree it is a good way for Microsoft , and a bold move from APPLE.
        But the current iPhone users might not like it to the point that they might ditch the iPhone.

        A year back folks had no substitute for iPhone , now you got Pre and the Andriod phones that can do the multi touch magic.

        Ultimately , it will end up as a failed decision , but I would love to see it played out the way you described.

        Share
      2. “This battle between Google and Apple is going to get very ugly — as it should. Both companies have pinned their futures on smartphones.”

        What a load of 2 digit BS.

        “Democracy and Apple… what is wrong with you…. ;-) Seriously I think it might be a good way for Microsoft to get everything going.” -Om Malik

        Om, always the Microsoft shill/egoist.

        Share
      3. @zato. Om, a MS shill? Not that I’ve ever seen, but (explicitly or implicity?) he is running a winning blog formula: take a side in a highly polarizing topic and wait for the comment traffic to climb.

        Share
    2. TheEqualizer Monday, August 3, 2009

      Switching to Yahoo or Bing won’t anger me a bit…I’ve been boycotting Google ever since Schmidt proclaimed his allegiance to President YoMama…bunch of freakin socialists masquerading as capitalists!

      Share
      1. I hope you lose your job and want to have unemployment benefits and cobra for health insurance. Let’s see who is the socialist. And of you are rich enough that don’t need a job, then why don’t you just stop paying tax or move to a tax free country.

        Share
  7. With the demise of Yahoo search, where will Apple turn to for search if this Google thing turns hostile? Certainly not Bing. Apple and Ask are looking like a good match!

    Share
  8. I’ll comment further after I get through sorting out Om’s article at the blogs I’m involved with. But, I have to note some commenters – all over the Web – show as much understanding of conflict resolution in the business world as if it was happening in a back corner of their schoolyard.

    Grow up, folks.

    Share
  9. Om,

    Can you explain why it would make sense for Apple to switch from one competitor to another (Google to Bing). Last I checked WM still had a bigger market share than Android and Windows had a bigger market share than…umm everyone.

    Maybe it is time for apple to launch it’s own branded search engine/maps where it could easily switch the back end provider if business deems it necessary.

    Share
    1. Ross,

      In search I think Google has a bigger market share and as a result it might be a short term deal with Microsoft can actually cause even more market share swings. I know it would be an emotional decision, but why the hell not…

      Share
  10. OK, I’m back.

    I disagree with Om – rarely. In this instance, I think both Jobs and Schmidt are immersed sufficiently in business models grounded in service and serviceability to waste time in foolishness like the old Microsoft-Apple wars.

    In addition, AT&T’s stake in the relationship with Apple was negotiated long before Google’s entry into the smartphone fray. Does that change things? You betcha. What rules is the contractual – and private – agreement between those two.

    Schmidt was first to bring the question public – last month at the Sun Valley conference. I see no reason to question why he brought it up. Time passes. Things change. No big deal.

    News junkies like me will also recall recent statements from Verizon about their hopes for a future relationship with Apple. And AT&T has made it clear their contractual relationship with Apple may not extend beyond the current period which is what – another year?

    Share

Comments have been disabled for this post