Google CEO to discuss his future as an Apple director

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
Google chief executive Eric Schmidt acknowledged this week that his company's foray into the operating system business may further complicate his role as a member of Apple's board of directors.



Schmidt joined Apple's board back in August of 2006, roughly six months before Apple introduced the first iPhone. At the time, Google was primarily enthralled in a battle with Microsoft for share of the online search and advertising markets, while its relationship with Apple was seen as fairly complementary.



Since then, things have got complicated, with the search giant following Apple's iPhone announcement with word that it too would seek share of the mobile handset market through its open-sourced Android operating system. This led to a dicey situation in which Schmidt was forced to begin recusing himself from Apple board meetings when the iPhone was the topic of discussion.



Earlier this week, Google put itself in further competition with Apple -- as well as Microsoft -- when it announced plans to release its own web-centeric computer operating system next year that will target everything from netbooks to full-fledged PCs.



The matter is expected to step up scrutiny of the relationship between the two tech heavyweights by U.S. regulators, as federal antitrust laws prohibit an individual from residing on the board of two companies if that relationship could lead to decreased competition.



Even before Google announced plans for the new Chrome OS based off its nine-month-old web browser, the Federal Trade Commission began looking into the whether the companies were in violation of the Section 8 provision of The Clayton Antitrust Act of 1914, which forbids "interlocking directorates." In addition to Schmidt, Genentech chief executive Arthur Levinson also sits on the board of both companies.



Although Apple and Google now collaborate and compete, their competing products rarely target the same customers. In the case of both web browsers and mobile software, Google aims its offerings at battling the encroachment of Microsoft into its advertising business, with the Google Chrome browser positioned to replace Internet Explorer and the Android phone platform aimed directly at Microsoft's Windows Mobile efforts.



Still, Schmidt said at the Allen & Co media and technology conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, on Thursday that he plans to sit down with his fellow Apple directors and discuss whether it's necessary that he step down from the electronics maker's board at this time.



"I'll talk to the Apple people. At the moment, there's no change," he said, later adding that he was "extremely well-informed as a board member" with respect to the recent medical woes of Apple chief executive Steve Jobs.



Although its too early to speculate on a potential replacement for Schmidt, there have been rumors that Apple, in an effort to further lock down one of its most vital assets, has been considering offering a seat on its board to chief operating officer Tim Cook.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 62
    mactrippermactripper Posts: 1,328member
    My guess, with new ultra thin, integrated graphics and low power MacBook Airs with no SSD, HD, SuperDrive and on board memory coming down the pipe (USB3 and SDXC too) all the "heavy lifting" will be done via the "cloud" of Apples and Googles severs or via Xgrid to one's home machine.



    This is coming, it's the only way to go in laptops of very small and lightweight design.



    Google with Chrome is going to pinch Microsoft if they don't have a OS to go on these ultra thin low power netbooks. So far as I can see, Windows 7 isn't going to do it.



    Apple has something already in the pipe obviously, purchasing PA Semi.



    So prepare for another processor switch...



    A OS X "lite" app store coming?



    Are Apple and Google competitors? Allies more like it, carving up the computing market ahead of Microsoft's demise.





    PS: and Al Gore is on the board because he has money and connections, not that he could contribute anything beneficial in my opinion.
  • Reply 2 of 62
    Al Gore is on the board of Apple for his Green Cred, thats all.
  • Reply 3 of 62
    dhkostadhkosta Posts: 150member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MacTripper View Post


    PS: and Al Gore is on the board because he has money and connections, not that he could contribute anything beneficial in my opinion.



    Whatever, dude. Al Gore invented the internet.
  • Reply 4 of 62
    jupiteronejupiterone Posts: 1,564member




    "Google CEO and his future as an Apple director.....Discuss."
  • Reply 5 of 62
    quadra 610quadra 610 Posts: 6,756member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by JupiterOne View Post






    "Google CEO and his future as an Apple director.....Discuss."



    Brilliant!
  • Reply 6 of 62
    quadra 610quadra 610 Posts: 6,756member
    Highly doubtful that Google's Chrome OS will target Apple customers.
  • Reply 7 of 62
    dr millmossdr millmoss Posts: 5,403member
    Apple is already one of many companies currently under criticism for sharing too many board members with potential competitors, so my feeling is that Schmidt is all but gone. I'm not sure I like the idea of Cook replacing him though. Chickens in charge of the henhouse etc.



    Google being "enthralled in a battle with Microsoft" is pretty funny though. I figured they were engaged in a battle with Microsoft -- I had no idea they were also fascinated by it!
  • Reply 8 of 62
    dreyfus2dreyfus2 Posts: 1,072member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MacTripper View Post


    My guess, with new ultra thin, integrated graphics and low power MacBook Airs with no SSD, HD, SuperDrive and on board memory coming down the pipe (USB3 and SDXC too) all the "heavy lifting" will be done via the "cloud" of Apples and Googles severs or via Xgrid to one's home machine.



    This is coming, it's the only way to go in laptops of very small and lightweight design.



    Even on mobile machines people want e.g. their own pictures and videos. Unless sufficient bandwidth is ubiquitous and affordable, I really see no need for lugging around a device, that is useless without bandwidth. Needing a 50-100 USD per month plan to access the own data is making a "cheap" netbook pretty much pointless, this gets even worse, if you want to use it during holidays in a foreign country ? having to download own content at something like 10 bucks per MB when an integrated HD for 50 bucks can hold half a TB? Why is Google e.g. developing Google Gears? Because people want and demand offline functionality.
  • Reply 9 of 62
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,379member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MacTripper View Post


    My guess, with new ultra thin, integrated graphics and low power MacBook Airs with no SSD, HD, SuperDrive and on board memory coming down the pipe (USB3 and SDXC too) all the "heavy lifting" will be done via the "cloud" of Apples and Googles severs or via Xgrid to one's home machine.



    This is coming, it's the only way to go in laptops of very small and lightweight design.



    Google with Chrome is going to pinch Microsoft if they don't have a OS to go on these ultra thin low power netbooks. So far as I can see, Windows 7 isn't going to do it.



    Apple has something already in the pipe obviously, purchasing PA Semi.



    So prepare for another processor switch...



    A OS X "lite" app store coming?



    Are Apple and Google competitors? Allies more like it, carving up the computing market ahead of Microsoft's demise.




    Pretty much my thoughts. Google and Apple compliment each other for the most part. Apple will never allow OS X Lite or otherwise to run on other platforms IMHO and better Google take that market than M$ who has done nothing but try to block or take over every innovation in the industry since they joined it. Meanwhile OS X Lite is surely destined for something like a larger iPhone or perhaps a tablet an iPhone or iPod Touch can dock with.
  • Reply 10 of 62
    al_bundyal_bundy Posts: 1,525member
    wonder what this will mean with Google Maps. Will Apple go further to the darkside and license VirtualEarth from Microsoft in addition to ActiveSync?
  • Reply 11 of 62
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,379member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by al_bundy View Post


    wonder what this will mean with Google Maps. Will Apple go further to the darkside and license VirtualEarth from Microsoft in addition to ActiveSync?



    Good joke.



    I see nothing in this that shows any damage to the Google / Apple friendship, in fact the opposite. It is to prevent anti-trust accusation and help protect that friendship this is being considered.
  • Reply 12 of 62
    al_bundyal_bundy Posts: 1,525member
    anti-trust is when companies collude to raise prices. like the airlines deciding they would all charge a minimum amount for some flight



    in this case a partner company is competing with Apple and a lot of times companies in this situation will choose not to do business together. decades ago Pepsi used to own burger king under the theory that it was guaranteed sales of their drinks. in the end they sold BK off because a lot of other restaraunts refused to serve Pepsi because BK was a competitor
  • Reply 13 of 62
    lilgto64lilgto64 Posts: 1,147member
    How is Google announcing a (potentially) competing computer operating system a move that would "decrease competition"?



    If someone at Google came up with a good design or plan or whatever to produce an OS and the board said uh no, we will not compete with Apple because they're our buds, then it would be reducing competition. I would think in this case it would be more of a thing where Apple would say, hey now, if you are going to sell a product that might take away some our sales then you are not allowed to play in our sand box anymore. Sort of a preemptive version of a non-compete clause or the legal wrangling that has happened when someone leaves one company for a competitor (Papermiester anyone?)
  • Reply 14 of 62
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MacTripper View Post


    PS: and Al Gore is on the board because he has money and connections, not that he could contribute anything beneficial in my opinion.



    I guess it is pure coincidence that since he became a board member Apple boosted it's R&D dollars in battery and manufacturing tech and now has the most environmentally friendly lineup in the industry. Their new 7-8 hour battery tech is light years ahead of the competition.



    I'm very glad he is there.
  • Reply 15 of 62
    pg4gpg4g Posts: 383member
    Lilgto64, the issue is more that there are two ways this could go. Either Schmidt does the wrong thing by Apple, by being biased against Apple's success, or they'll join forces and try and collude to take the market. Either way, it's wrong. What if Steve Jobs sat on the board of Microsoft? We'd all be crying "how dare he" because him wanting apple and him wanting Microsoft to both succeed equally is unreasonable.



    No matter how you spin this, Schmidt doesn't look in a very healthy position on the board of a major competitor, no matter how friendly relations are.
  • Reply 16 of 62
    Mac OS X = Consumer

    Chrome OS = Corporate



    More and more business and moving to web based apps. Everything is managed by large database apps with web front ends. These apps can be accessed by employees on desktops, laptops, netbooks and smartphones. This is the future of enterprise computing.



    Most corporate employees aren't photoshopping or editing video and they are prime candidates for a machine running Chrome OS. It won't be on all the computers in any company but most companies will find a significant percentage that only need a web browser and hence a Web OS makes sense.



    Personally I would like to see Apple add a similar feature to Mac OS X.

    A "Safari User Account"... When you log in it takes you straight to Safari and there is no Finder, no Dock, no other Apps.

    This would be great for Web kiosks and my mother.
  • Reply 17 of 62
    dr millmossdr millmoss Posts: 5,403member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by al_bundy View Post


    anti-trust is when companies collude to raise prices.



    To clarify, collusion is one type of anticompetitive activity which is prohibited by antitrust laws. Companies can collude in a variety of ways, and of course a whole variety of antitrust law violations don't involve collusion at all. Sorry if this seems pedantic, but these terms are very different in their meaning, but are often confused.
  • Reply 18 of 62
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by PG4G View Post


    Lilgto64, the issue is more that there are two ways this could go. Either Schmidt does the wrong thing by Apple, by being biased against Apple's success, or they'll join forces and try and collude to take the market. Either way, it's wrong. What if Steve Jobs sat on the board of Microsoft? We'd all be crying "how dare he" because him wanting apple and him wanting Microsoft to both succeed equally is unreasonable.



    No matter how you spin this, Schmidt doesn't look in a very healthy position on the board of a major competitor, no matter how friendly relations are.



    Apple's success and Google's success are not mutually exclusive.

    Apple doesn't make money selling Ads.

    Google doesn't make hardware.

    Apple sells most of their products.

    Google gives almost everything away for free.



    Apple and Google are not in competition.

    Their products are squarely aimed at entirely different markets.

    Both companies can be successful and not hurt the other.
  • Reply 19 of 62
    nceencee Posts: 856member
    Well if Google keeps adding to its line-up, then they surely could be benefiting from sitting on the Board at Apple.



    Think about it. He / they would get access to statistics that Apple has put together, oh say "On market share" or "the financial gains in doing this or that" or market shares fora service or product. Would Google be thinking of doing a cell phone, netbook, software or anything other then what they already do, if not for getting advance information …?



    Skip
  • Reply 20 of 62
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 20,223member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post


    Apple is already one of many companies currently under criticism for sharing too many board members with potential competitors, so my feeling is that Schmidt is all but gone. I'm not sure I like the idea of Cook replacing him though. Chickens in charge of the henhouse etc.



    Who else - other than Schmidt - is Apple "sharing with potential competitors?" The only other computer software or hardware company represented on Apple's board is Intuit. I don't see Apple and Intuit as potential competitors to each other.



    On worries regarding Tim Cook's elevation to the board, the modal number of insiders on Fortune 500 company boards is two: Apple currently has one (Jobs).



    Quite apart from that, this likely move tells me that Tim Cook will be formally made CEO, and SJ will become Chairman of the Board. If that were to happen, Apple will be among the less than 10% of publicly traded US firms to split the job of CEO and Chairman, something that is (rightly or wrongly) considered good governance practice. I hope that happens.
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