Schmidt's departure does nothing to stem scrutiny of Apple

Summary:A few months back, when it was announced that the Federal Trade Commission was looking into Google CEO Eric Schmidt's role on Apple's board, Schmidt said Google "doesn't see Apple as a primary competitior."Apparently Apple sees it differently.

A few months back, when it was announced that the Federal Trade Commission was looking into Google CEO Eric Schmidt's role on Apple's board, Schmidt said Google "doesn't see Apple as a primary competitior."

Apparently Apple sees it differently. According to the this statement from Steve:

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.

Regardless, the FTC continues to take an interest in Apple's board, Reuters reports. The focus may now be on Genentech's Arthur Levinson, who also sits on two boards. But it's harder to see quite as clear a conflict as with Schmidt.

In any case, the FCC has issued inquiries into Apple's rejection of Google Voice, The Wall Street Journal reported. Chairman Julius Genachowski said:

The FCC "has a mission to foster a competitive wireless marketplace, protect and empower consumers, and promote innovation and investment." The inquiry letters "reflect the Commission's proactive approach to getting the facts and data necessary to make the best policy decisions."

Meanwhile, TechCrunch says this goes much further than Google Voice, citing an app called Line 2, which "allow users to use two different numbers with their iPhones — one which they could hand out for business calls, and the other for personal."

Line 2 is sitting in Apple limbo, having waited since June 5 for an answer. The possibilities are very high now that Apple will find itself running interference for AT&T attempts to block any and all virtual number services. TechCrunch's Jason Kincaid says:

If Apple did grant approval to the app, it would show that duplicating functionality wasn’t really Apple’s reason for banning Google Voice (of course, countless other apps mimic portions of the iPhone’s functionality). That kind of inconsistency would be nothing new to the App Store, but now that the FCC is launching an inquiry into the marketplace’s approval processes, you can be sure that Apple isn’t keep on taking any chances.

Topics: Apple, Enterprise Software, Google, Government, Government : US, Legal

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