One of the more notorious events in Google's (GOOG) history came when then-CEO Eric Schmidt became a member of that board of Apple (AAPL) in 2006. It all ended in acrimony three years later after Google became a direct competitor with its Android phone.
Has Wal-Mart (WMT) just made the same mistake?
The company announced today that Google vice president of maps and local Marissa Meyer will be added to its board after the company's next annual meeting on June 1. Meyer called herself "very excited" on her Google Plus page.
While Google does not presently run stores, it does have a shopping service, which it's expanding, its ads do very local targeting, and its video services compete directly with Wal-Mart's own VUDU service. The Google Wallet service might also be seen as a conflict with Wal-Mart's own efforts in pre-paid cards and check cashing.
Meyer, meanwhile, has increasingly become the public, feminine face of Google, appearing at the Davos economic summit, and recommending tech products for Christmas, and announcing each day's doodle on the company blog. One thing she hasn't discussed much publicly is her unit's decision to start charging for the Google Maps API, starting in November.
The bottom line here for investors is good for both companies, in the short term. There is a lot that Google can teach Wal-Mart, and that Wal-Mart can teach Google. But with both companies on a collision course in many areas, it's hard to see how this will end, except badly.