In a completely unexpected move, today (August 3, 2009), Google CEO Eric Schmidt has decided to leave the Apple Board of Directors he’s been a part of since April 2009. While Google and Apple have seemed to look at the technology world from almost to completely different viewpoints, it seemed that Schmidt would remain on the Apple board for the foreseeable future.
It’s been known that Schmidt would remove himself from talks on the board when the conversation turned to something in which the two companies competes. For a while, that was limited only to talks of the iPhone. Recently, however, Schmidt has also had to remove himself from conversations about the Mac OS thanks to the recently announced Chrome OS. As Apple CEO Steve Jobs says in the press release, “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.”
What’s not mentioned is the recent Google Voice/iPhone debacle. It wouldn’t be surprising if Schmidt was upset about the app being rejected. It would be even less surprising if Jobs grew to be infuriated when the FCC decided to step into the situation. Schmidt probably wouldn’t have full sway to get the app put into the App Store, but one could assume he probably would have tried.
Also not mentioned is how this will affect the relations between Apple and Google. Apple integrates Google service such as Maps and YouTube into both the iPhone and parts of its main OS, including iLife and iWork. There is a small chance that those partnerships might be a bit strained going forward. Apple wouldn’t (or at least shouldn’t) take those features out of future releases, but this situation casts a a shadow over possible future integrations. Those integrations will always be available in Android, and presumably Chrome OS, however.