Google (GOOG) chief executive Eric Schmidt is stepping down from Apple’s (AAPL) board of directors, Apple announced. Schmidt has been on Apple’s board since August, 2006.
This move had been widely predicted since Google and Apple increasingly compete in more markets, including the mobile industry (Apple’s iPhone vs. Google’s Android) and the desktop operating system industry (Apple’s OS X vs. Google’s Chrome OS).
Apple CEO Steve Jobs is quoted in the company’s press release explaining the move, which the two sides “mutually decided” on:
“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.”
The move comes as Google’s relationship with Apple — once so close the government was sniffing around for collusion — seems to have soured a bit. Apple has recently rejected two Google apps from its iPhone App Store: A social networking/mapping service called Latitude, and an Internet phone service called Google Voice.
The FCC is investigating the Google Voice rejection, which may have been pushed to stifle competition by AT&T, Apple’s exclusive carrier partner.
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