Consumer Watchdog Urges Levinson to Choose: Apple or Google?

1 Comment


As we reported here yesterday, Apple (s aapl) announced Eric Schmidt resigned from its Board of Directors. The announcement really came as no surprise; Schmidt is the CEO of Google (s goog), a software giant that, for the last few years, has been inching inexorably into Apple’s desktop and mobile territories.

So it should also come as no surprise that Consumer Watchdog is now calling for another of Apple’s board of directors, this time Arthur D. Levinson to follow Schmidt’s example.

Consumer Watchdog is a nonprofit, nonpartisan consumer advocacy organization. Group member John M. Simpson writes:

“It took Eric Schmidt far to [sic] long too [sic] realize that the two roles are incompatible; that’s not surprising considering the clubby atmosphere of Silicon Valley. Nonetheless, we’re glad Schmidt finally did the right thing; we call on Levinson to act responsibly and choose one company or the other.”

Levinson’s a busy guy. Besides sitting on Apple’s Board of Directors, he also has a seat on Google’s board. In April, he was appointed chairman of the board at Genentech. He’s also a member of the Jedi High Council. (No, that one’s a lie, but it wouldn’t surprise me…)

Simpson reports Genentech has ties with Google beyond sharing a senior executive.

It is an investor, with Google, in the direct-to-consumer genetic testing company, 23andMe, run by Anne Wojcicki. She is the wife of Sergey Brin, Google’s co-founder.

Simpson reminds readers that the Federal Trade Commission has, “for several months,” been investigating Apple and Google for violating antitrust laws by sharing directors.

Schmidt never had a chance — he had to step down sooner or later. But Levinson could surely get out of this one:

Levinson: You don’t need to investigate us.

FTC: We don’t need to investigate you.

Levinson: This is not the antitrust case you’re looking for.

FTC: This is not the antitrust case we’re looking for.

Levinson (indicates Jobs): He can go about his business.

FTC: You can go about your business.

Levinson: Now move along.

FTC: Move along, move along…

Sorry. Couldn’t resist.

1 Comment

Mike Perry

Apple needs people on its board that aren’t industry executives of dubious loyalty or out-of-work politicians with axes to grind.

* Replace Eric Schmidt with a Mac/iPhone developer and the recurring problems with the App Store just might get fixed. Developers would no longer spend tens of thousand dollars developing an application only to be rejected for unknown reasons.

* For Arthur Levinson, find someone who uses Macs in their business who will change Apple’s dysfunctional culture of secrecy. How can a business make plans when even the most trivial hardware improvements are kept secret until Someone at Apple can announce them on stage? That sort of rock concert marketing makes no sense to people in business.

And for Al Gore, find a gutsy soccer mom with three or more kids who wants Apple (and the rest of Silicon Valley) to bring manufacturing jobs back to the U.S., so her kids don’t grow up in a morbid, declining economy. She’d have enough guts to ask why Apple doesn’t make iPhone in the U.S. and absorb the mere $50 in additional costs by reducing Apple’s huge cash reserves to something more reasonable.

Will Apple do this? Probably not. Look for the same sorts of people who have been doing nothing about these problems.

Comments are closed.