Apple has announced that Eric Schmidt, CEO of a little company called Google, has resigned from its board of directors. Today's press release on the matter contained a prepared statement from Apple CEO Steve Jobs:
"Eric has been an excellent Board member for Apple, investing his valuable time, talent, passion and wisdom to help make Apple successful. 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 torecuse 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."
While some are pointing to the Google Voice on iPhone fiasco, this move is long overdue. Apple and Google are competing in too many areas these days -- mobile phones (iPhone OS vs. Android), portable computers (iPhone/Mac OS vs. Chrome OS), web browsers (Safari vs. Chrome), personal music players (iPod vs. Android), and more. With the FCC snooping around to learn why Google Voice was blocked from Apple's App Store, the resignation looks even more suspicious, but really, it seemed like a matter of time.
That said, many pundits are wondering how authentic this "resignation" is. Steve Jobs' temper and combative nature are well known. It's entirely possible that he told Schmidt, "Get the f*&^ off my board and take your crappy web browser, apps, phone OS, netbook OS, and whatever other crap you're working on with you!!!" Tech pundit Om Malik (from the outstanding GigaOm) has suggested that the FCC's investigation might have something to do with Google's lobbying power in Washington D.C. He even went as far as to say that Apple ought to "take these hostilities one step further" by going with Yahoo! Maps and Bing over Google products. That might sound a bit extreme, but can't you picture Steve Jobs doing that (despite the number of Apple customers he'd piss off)?
The war between Google and Apple could have a tremendous impact on tech-nerd culture. It might get as heated as Marvel's Civil War, with techies choosing sides. I love products from both companies, so I'd have to think long and hard about which camp I'd back (though I'm definitely leaning in one direction).
What do you think really happened? Did Schmidt really resign? Did Jobs kick him off the board? Or was it a mutual thing? Do you think Apple would go as far as too use Yahoo! Maps and Bing? If you had to chose between Apple and Google, which company would you go with? Leave your opinions on this torrid tech soap opera (please)!