Still room for Google CEO Schmidt on Apple’s board of directors?

“Until now, having Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt sit on Apple’s board of directors has made a lot of sense. Google, the world’s largest Web-search engine, is one of the most influential companies in technology,” Arik Hesseldahl writes for BusinessWeek.

“Google has been incredibly supportive of Apple’s flagship computer, the Mac, and has developed a lot of software for Apple’s music-playing iPhone, notably a tool that lets users watch video from Google’s YouTube site,” Hesseldahl writes. “Why wouldn’t Apple, an innovative creator of hardware and software for Web-enabled computers, music players, and cell phones, want Schmidt’s informed viewpoint on the Internet and its evolution?”

Hesseldahl writes, “Google is also increasingly becoming a would-be Apple competitor, making Schmidt’s membership on Apple’s board awkward, if not ultimately untenable. Concerns over a potential conflict of interest have surfaced in the tech blogosphere in the past, but the potential for rivalry takes on added urgency as Apple prepares to launch the next version of its iPhone while Google partners ready cell phones that run Google’s operating system.”

Full article here.


  1. Dev, what does Al Gore do a good job of anyway and how, if at all is he being on the board of Apple, Inc. connected to a “pile of cash?”

    Gore is a politician, not a scientist in any sense of the word and I submit that he is on the board merely because he is a politician and has a celebrity status, nothing more.

    There are many, many more people that could have his seat on the board of Apple that could contribute immeasurably more than Albert Gore.

  2. Google is in the service biz. Apple is in the software biz to sell hardware. I think Google and Apple can co-exist.

    Google wants Android to run on as many mobile phones as possible to they can further collect search data and provide services like maps, email, blogger, etc. to make advertising revenue.

    Apple wants to create awesome software like OS X, iLife, pro apps to sell more hardware.

  3. Rather than oust Schmidt whose company actually gives a damn about Mac users and Apple, Bill Campbell is the one to throw out the window. Intuit has no shame in thumbing its nose at Mac users by making sub-sub par software where bugs and omissions are de rigeur.

  4. @ Mac+:

    Your suggestion goes against the model of Apple software/hardware development. Apple develops the hardware AND the software in house so it can control the entire user experience. Why on earth would they break from this philosophy, especially now that consumers are finally starting to get it? It makes no sense.

    Apple already has OS X and a very sophisticated software development kit that gives developers access to the iPhone/iPod touch specific features. Furthermore, iPhone is available NOW, the software development kit is available NOW, and these features will be available to all iPhone owners in less than 60 days (barring any delays in releasing iPhone 2.0). Android has no firm timetable. Not to mention that Apple has tremendous momentum from just buzz alone.

    I don’t get where Google thinks it’s going with Android.

  5. HotinPlaya:

    I was truly hoping that no-one would be dumb enough to quote that hoary old line about the “internet” and Al Gore any more. Considering how much it’s been discredited for being taken out of context and flat-out mis-quoted. But hey, who wants to let facts get in the way of a dumb poster on MDN…

  6. By the way, none of those bitching about Al Gore on the board of Apple know shit about why he’s there, or Eric Schmidt for that matter. You just make yourselves look the idiotic buffoons you really are.

    Give it a rest. Go back out and play in the yard.

  7. On 9 March 1999, Gore gave an interview for CNN’s Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer in which he stated, “During my service in the United States Congress I took the initiative in creating the Internet. I took the initiative in moving forward a whole range of initiatives that have proven to be important to our country’s economic growth and environmental protection, improvements in our educational system.”

    The “invented the internet” line is attributed to Mark Foley, R-FL.

    In response, Internet pioneers Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn wrote article which described Gore’s contributions to the Internet since the 1970s, including his work on the Gore Bill: “[A]s the two people who designed the basic architecture and the core protocols that make the Internet work, we would like to acknowledge VP Gore’s contributions as a Congressman, Senator and as Vice President. No other elected official, to our knowledge, has made a greater contribution over a longer period of time. Last year the Vice President made a straightforward statement on his role. He said: “During my service in the United States Congress I took the initiative in creating the Internet.” We don’t think, as some people have argued, that Gore intended to claim he “invented” the Internet. Moreover, there is no question in our minds that while serving as Senator, Gore’s initiatives had a significant and beneficial effect on the still-evolving Internet. The fact of the matter is that Gore was talking about and promoting the Internet long before most people were listening. We feel it is timely to offer our perspective.”

    In addition, Newt Gingrich, former Republican Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, also argued for Gore’s role in the development of the Internet, saying, “In all fairness, it’s something Gore had worked on a long time. Gore is not the Father of the Internet, but in all fairness, Gore is the person who, in the Congress, most systematically worked to make sure that we got to an Internet, and the truth is—and I worked with him starting in 1978 when I got [to Congress], we were both part of a ‘futures group’—the fact is, in the Clinton administration, the world we had talked about in the ’80s began to actually happen.”

  8. As two of the very best, do no evil, innovative and intelligent companies in consumer technology it would be much better if Apple and Google are working together in a symbiotic way. They are different enough that they should be able to do this.

  9. Right-wing wackos who claim that Al Gore says he invented the Internet are either ignorant buffoons or lying Republicans. (*)

    On the other hand, without Al Gore’s advocacy in Congress, the Internet might not have happened.

    As far as Gore’s contributions to Apple’s board, there is absolutely benefit from having an advisor with deep government connections. Apple’s Federal Systems group is trying to sell to government agencies all the time. Who knows, the purchase of government supplier PA Semi may actually have strategic value, and not be just some hare-brained $268M lark that Steve Jobs threw together one day without thinking about it.

    * Or both.

  10. How many are holding off on becoming involved in the iPhone econosphere (as developers, manufacturers or consumers) due to established involvement with or commitment to Microsoft products?

    How many of that group might be interested enough in Android to consider the possibility of moving beyond exclusive deals with Microsoft?

    Android may or may not eventually bear fruit for Google, but vaporware or not, it represents much more of a threat to Windows-based smartphones than it does the iPhone. Any potential player in that segment that shifts attention away from Microsoft and towards a more open, developer-friendly and ultimately user-oriented and consumer-driven experience will be good for Apple and bad for Microsoft.

    Underdogs know how to make the most of strong friends, but bullies can only thrive in an environment populated with weak enemies.

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