Google's Schmidt Resigns Apple Board as Competition Heats Up

Includes: AAPL, GOOG
by: Andy Beal

Google CEO Eric Schmidt is no longer on Apple’s board of directors.

In a statement released earlier today, we learn the official reason for his departure:

“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.”

OK, sounds reasonable, right? Except Schmidt has been recusing himself from mobile/browser talks for some time now, so it smells more like a cover-up than reality.

Nope, in reality, I suspect that we missed out on some heated exchanges within the walls of Apple. With the recent blackballing of both Google Latitude and Voice being the last straw.

Add the increased scrutiny from the FTC, and you have enough reasons why Schmidt would want to give up the position he has held for almost 3 years. Now we may never know what Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) had up their sleeve, but we do know that, by Apple’s own admission, the two companies are destined to compete head-to-head in the coming months!