Google’s Eric Schmidt steps down from Apple’s Board of Directors

Apple today announced that Dr. Eric Schmidt, chief executive officer of Google, is resigning from Apple’s Board of Directors, a position he has held since August 2006.

“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, in the press release. “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.”

Source: Apple Inc.

Just on Friday, The Mercury News posted an interview with Schmidt that addresssed the Apple Board question. His response shows that up until very recently, Schmidt still thought he’d be able to remain on Apple’s Board. This leads us to believe that, despite the press release’s characterization of a “mutual” decision, ’twas Apple, not Schmidt, that decided it was time for him to go ‘bye ‘bye:

Q: Google and Apple are increasingly in the same businesses, namely operating systems for mobile phones and now with the announcement of the Chrome OS, personal computers. Is it also becoming increasingly problematic for you to be on Apple’s board?

A: I am not sure about the board question. The board question can be solved by recusing yourself, which I do with the iPhone. It is also important to remember that unlike Microsoft and Google, Apple and Google have a lot of technical partnerships. The underpinnings of Chrome are the same as that of Apple’s Safari browser. There is a lot of collaboration around Web standards. We collaborate on the maps area. We have a large number of iPhone apps. There are significant benefits to Apple and to Google for me to be on both boards with the caveat that you mentioned that you have to be very careful.

Full interview here.

MacDailyNews Take: Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out, mole.

(Better late than never, but this should have happened the day Google announced Android.)

58 Comments

  1. What do the BODs of most companies do?
    I would like to see someone do a documentary on a company like Apple, show the board in action with full access. Suppress the footage for 5 or 6 years to protect strategic decisions. Then release it so the rest of the world can see what really goes on. My guess is nothing much, boards of directors are just another money grab for the wealthy, like hey Bill you put me on your board and I’ll put you on mine, we both get paid for getting together having a good meal and approving each others salary.

  2. Speaking as someone who works closely with my company’s Board, some Boards can be very intimately involved with operations and product plans. As an AAPL shareholder, I see this as good news.

  3. Such cynacism..

    Maybe we should fire Steve Jobs cause the company did not crash when he left, so he is not critical. ?????

    Maybe we should become Microsoft, suspicious of everyone instead of making a great product.?????

    A “good” board of directors bring their varied talents and opinions both good and bad to a general meeting to decide the best path for the company. Google and Apple have worked well together and while some of their products clash, its google maps on the iPhone and youtube, built-in. Does any one remember these early products that made the iPhone even better.

    Just a thought.

    en

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