Apple released a PR Statement today saying that Eric Schmidt had resigned from Apple’s Board of Directors.  The move was anticipated as more and more of Google and Apple’s businesses crossed over into each other’s paths.  The straw that broke the camel’s back was undoubtedly the announcement of the Google Chrome OS which will compete with Windows and Mac for the desktop space.

The move will also ease some regulatory issues.  The FTC had previously been investigating Apple and Google for sharing board members.  As of this writing, Google and Apple still share a single board member, Art Levinson from Genentech.  The FCC is also looking into the Google Voice App Store rejections.

 In May, Schmidt said:

“From my perspective, I don’t think Google sees Apple as a primary competitor.”
Mr. Schmidt said that if there were areas of competition between the two, he would recuse himself from discussions. He added that it was well known that he typically recuses himself from Apple board discussions related to the iPhone.

Last month, it was reported that Schmidt was going to talk to Apple’s Board about any possible conflicts.

"I’ll talk to the Apple people," he told reporters "At the moment, there’s no issue."

Apple today said:

CUPERTINO, California—August 3, 2009—Apple® today announced that Dr. Eric Schmidt, chief executive officer of Google, is resigning from Apple’s Board of Directors, a position he has held since August 2006.

“Eric has been an excellent Board member for Apple, investing his valuable time, talent, passion and wisdom to help make Apple successful,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “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 to recuse 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.”

Besides OSes, Google and Apple compete in the following areas:

    * Smartphone software. iPhoneOS vs. Android
    * Webpage building software iWeb vs. Google Pages
    * Calendar software – iCal vs. GCal
    * Document writing software – iWork vs. Google apps (Docs, spreadsheets and presentations)
    * Feed reading software Mail.app vs. Google reader.
    * Email software Gmail vs. Mail.app
    * OS Software: MacOS vs. Android Linux
    * They both give away photo editing software – Picassa vs. iPhoto.
    * Web Browsers (both based on the same Open Source Webkit and sold for free) Safari and Chrome
    * Web Services with Apple’s MobileMe and Google’s Google Apps and Gmail.
    * Video services – Youtube vs. iTunes

  Fake Steve humorously and correctly analyzed the situation here and here.

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