Google CEO Eric Schmidt Resigns From Apple Board

33 Comments

ericEric Schmidt, chief executive officer of Google (s GOOG), has resigned from the board of Apple (s APPL), 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)

[polldaddy poll=1835699] 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 (s yhoo) Maps. And as for search, there is this thing called Bing… (Hat tip, The Wall Street Journal.)

Image courtesy of Google.

33 Comments

Subbaraman Iyer

It is not a conflict of interests though that was probably the last straw. Both Apple and Google are great companies but with antithetical approaches to the future of the consumer web. Everything about them — business model, innovation approaches are different and hence it was a surprise that their mutual rivalry with Microsoft kept them together for so long. I have analyzed their philosophical approaches here at: http://subbaiyer.wordpress.com/2009/08/04/google-and-apple-are-now-confirmed-rivals/

David Robins

It was bond to happen. Google and Apple are competitors in a lot of areas and the reason they got together in the first place was Microsoft. Now Microsoft is not the 800 lbs gorilla any more and these guys can go their own ways.

Mark Sigal

At the risk of tooting my horn, in March of LAST year, I wrote a post called ‘The Chess Masters: Apple versus Google’ that essentially asserted two things.

One that Apple and Google are without peers in terms of their ability to build products that cross the once impenetrable boundaries between PC, mobile, media and Internet segments.

Two that given their respective mammoth ambitions, ‘friends’ Apple/Google are destined to become ‘frienemies’ ala Apple/Microsoft (circa 1990).

Looks like destiny is being realized. 

Check out the post if interested:

The Chess Masters: Apple versus Google:

http://bit.ly/P9HJs

Mark

Rupert Goldie

You simply cannot replace Google Maps with Yahoo! Maps. Yahoo! is just not up to scratch. Search for Melbourne, Australia in each and you will see the difference.

Rupert

Libran Lover

“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…”

Wait, what? Put an inferior map product on the iPhone and risk consumer dissatisfaction just to show off some macho hostility? As for Bing, it’s still a Microsoft product, right? The same Microsoft with which Apple has a much older and out in the open hostility, than it does with Google. The same Microsoft which desperately needs Bing to succeed. Why would Apple give such an easy gift to its old rival?

Note that even after releasing the Android OS, Google continues to give the iPhone the highest priority when it comes to releasing new mobile apps and features.

In the real business world, people are much more pragmatic about how they handle rivals and competition. I am with the earlier commenter who said this is not a schoolyard fight.

jomym

Bring back Sherlock.
Apple and Google have more to gain from working together than they stand to loose competing against each other. It is a stretch to say these companies actually compete against each other. The real problem is contractual obligations to third parties(AT&T).
Apple wants Google Voice on the iPhone but can’t allow it at this juncture.
Apple’s success is still dependent on AT&T and courting Verizon for the future.
Allowing GV on the iPhone would jeopardize both of those relationships.

gbp

I don’t know what to say to your post. While I am not a code monkey anymore, I know a bit or two about operating systems. Google Chrome is redefining the operating system, and it will be a direct threat to APPLE. In about a year , you will see the ultra cool netbook type gadgets that run the Chrome. Which means folks at APPLE will be competing with Google.

And there is that small matter of Mobile operating system called Android , which will explode in a year or two resulting abdominal pain in APPLE’s infinite loop.

jomym

How will consumers download photos from their digital camera using a web browser?
There are to many compromises for consumers to adopt it initially.

I think Chrome OS will actually be most attractive in the enterprise.
More and more business is done solely with a web browser.

TimB

@gbp – I’m a fan of both Apple and Google, but you are much more optimistic about Chrome OS (and its threat to Apple) than me. The most likely place for Chrome OS to succeed is at the bottom of the price chain (netbooks, smartbooks, nettops…whatever)….the polar opposite of where Apple likes to play. Even if Chrome OS is insanely great – MS could counter that threat by giving away their margins on “Windows 7 ultralight” (or whatever they would call it).

gbp

Well well, the only reason I have is, few years (precisely seven years ) back we heard of Linux based PC’s taking over the consumer market. It didn’t happen.
Because the likes of HP, Compaq, Gateway and Dell loved Microsoft, and
didn’t bother to pay attention to Linux in a big way.

Fast forward 2009, you see Linux everywhere, Android, PALM Pre, bunch of ASUS netbooks, Acer notebooks …. even HP making one. The list goes on.

Apart from Linux which is software , the new CPUs ( Intel Atom, Snapdragon, ARM based chips ,) are bringing the price of the netbook to sub 300 dollar range.

Here is my thought , 80 percent of personal usage on computer involves checking email, browsing, tweating ( or whatever that is) , facebooking, watching whatever the videos ,
and
more emailing , more browsing ….

The business usage will add working on a spreadsheet, working on a word document, creating power points and checking the code ( for developers).

Googles Chrome (Linux) will let you do the 80% personal usage easily.
For the rest i.e. business use , you will see either widgets , or web services being used to replace the Microsoft Office dependency.

Your question about APPLE being the polar opposite to the netbooks , I agree, but APPLE’s days as a premium PC / laptop producer will be numbered.
The only strength they have is, they know how to marry the hardware with software.

With this Linux exploding everywhere, APPLE’s software expertise will no longer be assumed to be the best. And the hardware changes ( i.e. chips being made for phones and laptops ) will help the DELLs of the world to churn out chrome based laptops for less than $ 200 bucks. Now you are talking a 200 plus dollar laptop that can be become a poor man’s macbook.

Reg , Windows 7 , hmmm , I will have to disagree with that one. I see the no corporate is ready to jump on the windows 7 upgrade , also I see non business customers are mad at Microsoft , thanks to Vista.

So Google it is , but we shall see how it will be played out. I will be buying one when they release it.

TimB

Schmidt probably did need to go from Apple’s board, but I still don’t see how these two compete on anything but Smartphone OSes (and iPhone is probably currently well ahead of the Android handsets).

The notion of Google threatening Apple’s “core business” with Chrome OS is laughably bad. After how many quarters of record Mac sales – they are up to..what? 10%, and they are threatened by an OS that is a year away in a crowded market (Linux variants) that no one has been highly successful in? Sure they are.

gbp

You better re read what yo wrote.

“and they are threatened by an OS that is a year away in a crowded market (Linux variants) that no one has been highly successful in? ”

Sure but the earlier Linux efforts are not done by Google.

Google FWIW , has a proved to be successful in new ventures , gmail, maps, earth , docs and now the Chrome OS.
Not to mention the andriod, Chrome the browser and GV.

While Google can easily compete with APPLE on operating system business , APPLE will have tough time jumping into search business.

The one gold mine to make money in the Web 2.0 world is “the search business”.
The world will start and end with search !!!!!!

eideard

Cripes, I have to proof better. That first paragraph should read “NOT to waste time”.

And we should also keep an eye on parallel development of Chrome and Safari to note divergence – or continued friendly work.

eideard

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?

Ross

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.

Om Malik

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…

eideard

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.

Will Robertson

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!

gbp

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

Om Malik

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

gbp

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.

zato

“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.

TimB

@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.

TheEqualizer

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!

JTFC

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.

gbp

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.

Nikhlesh

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.

Amadeo

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.

Aaron Smith

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?

Coitus Interruptus

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

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