Apple has announced that Google CEO Eric Schmidt is resigning his position on Apple’s Board of Directors, owing to potential conflicts of interest as Google and Apple begin to compete in a wider number of businesses. Although Apple is not horning in on Google’s Internet search business, Google and Apple already butt heads on mobile phones (with the iPhone and Google Android), and Google’s recently announced Chrome OS will have the company’s competing on operating systems and (potentially) even computing hardware.
“Eric has been an excellent Board member for Apple, investing his valuable time, talent, passion, and wisdom to help make Apple successful,” said Apple CEO Steve Jobs, in a statement. The statement said that Apple and Schmidt mutually reached the decision.
Schmidt has been on Apple’s board of directors for three years; no replacement has been named.
The resignation follows news that the Federal Trade Commission has been investigating Schmidt’s role on the Apple board as a potential violation of antitrust regulations. During Schmidt’s tenure on the Apple board, the companies partnered on selected products; for instance, the iPhone has always prominently featured integrated support for Google Maps and for the video sharing site YouTube.
Schmidt’s resignation is a rare shakeup in Apple’s boardroom; the last shift was when former CFO Fred Anderson left the company two years ago following an investigation into Apple’s granting (and accounting for) stock option grants. Anderson is not Managing Director of the investment of Elevation Partners, now a major investor in Palm.