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Dr. Eric Schmidt Dr. Eric Schmidt, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer  (Source: Google)
Eric Schmidt faces the music and leaves the Apple board

It was only a matter of time, but Google's Eric Schmidt has finally stepped down from his position on Apple's Board of Directors. Apple CEO Steve Jobs released a statement on Apple's press site describing the matter:

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 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.

Although Steve Jobs cites conflicts of interest between Google's Android operating system used in smartphones and Google's upcoming Chrome OS which will be used in netbooks, there have been other sources of friction between the two companies. Most recently, Apple rejected Apple's Google Voice application from appearing in the iTunes App Store and axed unofficial Google Voice applications as well. Many pointed fingers at a brewing conspiracy between Apple and AT&T seeing as how an official Google Voice application is available on Blackberry smartphones which use the AT&T wireless network.

The Google Voice rejection sparked the FCC to send letters to Apple, AT&T, and Google requesting more information on App Store rejections and AT&T's involvement in Apple's decision making process.

Earlier this year, it was reported that the FTC was investigating Schmidt for his role on Apple's board for a possible improper relationship. At the time, Schmidt felt that the relationship was harmless, stating, "If there are issues on competitiveness, I recuse myself.  From my perspective I don't think Google sees Apple as a primary competitor."





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