Google CEO Eric Schmidt has stepped down from Apple’s board. Many are surprised Schmidt didn’t step down earlier but certainly when Apple did the about face on Google Voice which sparked questions from the FCC, the stage was set. According to CNBC – Schmidt’s about face was likely a result of a nudge – perhaps from Apple – taking into account the current political climate. Comments from the cable television station say Schmidt mentioned as recently as this past Saturday that he doesn’t need to step down.
As you may recall, early last month I said regarding the launch of the new Google Chrome OS:
The downside to Google in this move is the relationship with Apple will have to be diminished because of the Interlocking Doctorates rule which prohibits someone serving on a rival company board if it has the potential to reduce competition. So Eric Schmidt will have to step down from the Apple board soon in my opinion. Ironically this is in stark contrast to the following statement made from Schmidt made just this past May:
The possibility “hasn’t crossed my mind,” Schmidt told reporters before the annual shareholders meeting at the company’s Mountain View headquarters. “I don’t think Apple sees Google as a primary competitor,” he said.
The winners here is consumers who will now benefit from healthy competition between Google and Apple and of course Microsoft who is the beneficiary of a historic week where it has allied itself with Yahoo and seen the Apple/Google alliance begin to slowly come undone.