Google and Apple entanglements

Written by Ced Kurtz on .

I'm not much of a business head so I was a little surprised to learn that Google CEO Eric Schmidt has a seat on the Apple board of directors.  Maybe that was news to no one.  Maybe I'm dead from the neck up.  You decide.

So now that Google has Chrome OS in the wings, it seems that Mr. Schmidt has found himself in an odd position.  Apple has an OS.  Google has an OS.  How do you maintain your status as a board member when you have a foot in two competing camps?

Google chief Eric Schmidt last evening said he would talk to Apple to determine whether or not he should recuse himself from the Mac maker's board of directors following the unveiling of Chrome OS. The executive told those at Allen & Co's technology conference that there is currently "no issue" with his remaining on the board but that he will ask Apple if it sees a conflict of interest to have another desktop operating system developer involved in its decisions. Apple itself hasn't commented on any possible change in relationship.

And the next paragraph really has me puzzled.

Schmidt already has to step out of director meetings when the iPhone is a subject due to Google's Android platform, which competes directly with Apple's mobile platforms.

Apparently this has been going on for a very long time.  In my mind, this is a little like the Ford company having a Chrysler executive on the board.  I understand that Apple and Google have had very little in common until recently, but now they overlap in a couple key areas (smart phones and operating systems).

This could get interesting.  Like a car crash, it will be hard not to watch this unfold.


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