Apple Board vacancy: Good riddance to Eric Schmidt

Apple Board vacancy: Good riddance to Eric Schmidt

Summary: Apple on Monday said that Google CEO Eric Schmidt won't have a seat at the next meeting of its board of directors. The only question was why did it take so long for push to come to shove for this joker.

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Apple on Monday said that Google CEO Eric Schmidt won't have a seat at the next meeting of its board of directors. The only question was why did it take so long for push to come to shove for this joker. Apple said Schmidt's effectiveness had been diminished.
“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.”
Come on! Maybe he's going to spend some more time with his family too. How many announcements of competing products does it take for the Apple board to figure out that a board member isn't pulling his or her weight? The writing for this ejection has been on the wall for years. Was it the Chrome OS? Was it a competing browser? Was it Google's cloud applications that compete against Apple's host-based and online sync services? Where is the "passion" to make Apple successful here? (Note that I'm not talking here about the responsibilities of the board for governance here and their possible dropping the dime on Steve Jobs' absence and the lack of transparent planning for succession. Board members are also supposed to bring something of an industry perspective.) What about the other members of the board?

Al Gore is known to be a longtime Mac user and his media company no doubt uses Macs in content production. But what about Bill Campbell, Chairman of Intuit, who came on the board in the late 1990s, right around the time that Intuit decided to stop its Mac versions? During the 1998 Apple shareholders meeting, Steve Jobs admitted that Apple had "stumbled" by not stopping such an important product from leaving the Mac platform. Of course, the community wondered what good Campbell was doing for Apple other than warming the cushion on his board seat. Where was the "thinking different" down at Intuit, right? Campbell kept his seat. While Intuit titles have returned to the Mac, the distance between Mac versions and Windows versions remains vast and show no sign of parity. Take for example, Quicken for Mac. In early 2008, Intuit said that it would release an update later in the year. This past January, the company said it would be this year. Nope, no go. Facing rumors that the mounting delays would become permanent — can we say deja vu all over again? — the company last month announced on the Quicken Blog that what will now be called Quicken Financial Life for Mac won't arrive until 2010. Or so it hopes.
Feedback from Mac customers led us to rethink our approach to developing Quicken for Mac. We went back to the drawing board and are making changes to everything from what the program does to how it looks. We spent extra time building a reconcile mode for the new register, a robust Windows-to-Mac transfer function for new Mac users (and existing customers running Quicken on a Windows virtual machine), and redesigned the experience to make it look and feel like a native Mac application should. We understand our loyal Mac customers are disappointed that the product won’t be in stores until after the first of the year. For that, we apologize. We think taking our time to get it right will be well worth it and will make Mac customers even more excited when they use the new Quicken for Mac early next year.
Right! And guess what? On Oct. 12, you'll be able to pre-order Quicken for Mac (the blog really hasn't figured out the new branding). So, they must be serious this time. Was the decision to bring on Campbell in 1997 part of a strategy to show Apple's customer base and the investment community that the company could continue to provide mainstream computing platform? This concern is hard to imagine today, as switchers keep coming to the Mac and Apple keeps making gains in the enterprise segment. Check Out: Apple: iPhone adoption in the enterprise to climb In the summer of 1997 at the Macworld Expo in Boston, Steve Jobs told the audience that the “era of competition between Apple and Microsoft is over.” He then announced a patent sharing deal between the companies and a modest investment by Redmond in Apple. Read: Better living without MS Office More to the point, Office for the Mac would continue. And it has continued, but not without significant developmental pains, parity problems and missed ship dates. Sound familiar? Now, a dozen years later, Mac users are taking a hard look at alternatives to Microsoft Office. Perhaps the same thing will happen with Quicken.

Topics: CXO, Apple, Enterprise Software, Hardware, Legal

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16 comments
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  • Art Levinson is next

    Now Genentech CEO Arthur Levinson needs to exit either Google's or
    Apple's board.
    dogbreath1
  • RE: Apple Board vacancy: Good riddance to Eric Schmidt

    My opinion is any of these Board members who receive
    Stock Options as partial remuneration for their services on
    this board or any other should not be re-elected if they
    exercise the options and immediately convert it to cash.
    Where is the faith in the company they are governing.
    Millard Drexler of J Crew is a perfect example he sells the
    same day as he exercises so he has 0 (ZERO) ownership in
    the company. So every time I'm asked to vote for Directors
    he's opposed on my ballot. Al Gore on the other hand
    hasn't sold in the last three years or more. This same
    opinion goes for Sr. Officers like Jonathan Ive who typically
    owns less than 1000 shares. Hey guys where's your loyalty.
    kennmsr
    • Insider trading

      Yes. Company rules should state that to prevent "evil" people from damaging the company. Board members, C-level people and all senior managers should their stock options and other "financial incentives" from the company scrutinized so they don't dump stock because of insider trading and damage the company in process.
      Board of Directors should be good people guiding the company for better financial and corporate good and not be a "cash cow" for greedy people which it appears that most corporate boards have become.
      phatkat
  • How about "good riddance" to lame blog titles like this?

    After all, you no doubt didn't headline with "Good riddance" when Bill Gates stepped down. So, what's so special about Schmidt?
    zkiwi
  • Apple fanboi-ism at its finest

    David, as the worst kind of Apple fanboi you are expected to over-inflate the importance of Apple but this statement borders on the ridiculous:

    [i]"Was it Google?s cloud applications that compete against [b]Apple?s host-based and online sync services?[/b]"[/i]

    Surely you cannot be comparing the future might of Google's cloud services against .Mac / MobileMe?

    Here you cite a good reason why sane people who actually USE a computer should not "switch" over to the Mac:

    [i]"While Intuit titles have returned to the Mac, [b]the distance between Mac versions and Windows versions remains vast and show no sign of parity.[/b]"[/i]

    Get used to it. Companies who develop software know where the real greenbacks are made, and it isn't the Mac!

    ...and this is the sad reality for most of those switchers looking for OSX versions of their favourite Windows software:

    [i]"Now, a dozen years later, [b]Mac users are taking a hard look at alternatives[/b] to Microsoft Office. Perhaps the same thing will happen with Quicken.[/i]

    ...and what happens when those switchers cannot find the real software and have to resort to "alternatives"?

    WINDOWS GETS INSTALLED!!!

    The sad reality rarely gets a mention in lovefest blogs like yours David. Maybe its time you started.
    Scrat
    • And what are you?

      Pot, meet kettle.
      SimonUK2
    • Scrat, I have to agree with you.

      I didn't think zdnet could have a bigger Mac fanboy than Robin Harris....until David Morganstein showed up.
      I'm not sure if his blogs are meant to be informative, or soliloquies of his love for all things Apple.
      <br>
      ;)
      xuniL_z
  • Different directors at Apple

    Apple is a different type of company - it's not your typical
    MBA let corporations that seem to drag through the year.
    Maybe it's more like companies used to be, but the
    company is flying and the board is working well with the
    executives.

    Schmidt was one of those directors who could relate with
    Jobs & Friends, and Apple gained from that.

    Now Google's competitive position has changed, which is
    sad in a way - look where Google and Apple were when
    Steve J returned - then look where they are today.
    Ken_z
    • MAc

      Big weight has constantly looked like a trouble for myself. I tried the right tablet and I burned a lot of fat. Afterward I determined to put up utilizing this since I already had the ideal organism. I suggest you http://malestab.com perhaps that's the best detail you necessitate for a perfect body.
      bobdoskaen4
  • Intuit's support for Mac isn't the only problem...

    As a Quicken Windows user, I can tell you that Intuit as a whole is in a very poor state. Every year, they push out a new "version" of their software, and every year it has one ore two new "features" that do very little for the product. This year, it included "Quicken Picks"...essentially a coupon system.

    Add to that its instability, and apparently its inability to run alongside iTunes (for Windows) and you've got quite a mess of a software package. If the boss of Intuit can't run his own company, how is Apple to believe he will be able to help run theirs?
    steeldestroyer
  • What have you got against Schmidt???

    What have you got against Eric Schmidt?? Did he cut you
    off in morning traffic or something? It certainly seems so
    with your almost militant cry to tar and feather him.

    You say that a board member should have some "industry
    perspective". Eric Schmidt has more industry perspective in
    new economy, web-focused business than anybody else
    on Apple's board or the industry at large. And here you've
    just called for (and unfortunately received) his resignation.
    As an Apple Shareholder, thanks for nothing!

    It seems to me as though he has done as good a job as
    any of the other Apple directors. At least Google supports
    the Mac as an equal platform. Google Maps are very tightly
    integrated into the iPhone. How many times have you used
    them? Were it not for Google supporting the Mac fully, that
    wouldn't have happened. It would have been very easy
    technically for Google to block access to Google Maps from
    all mobile platforms other than their own Android
    platform. They would have been just as justified in doing
    that as Apple is in blocking the ability for the Palm Pre to
    sync with iTunes. However Google did not do that. Instead
    they kept the field open for everyone. Tell me, how does
    Google sell ad revenue (their primary method of earning
    money for their shareholders which is the point of a
    corporation) from Google Maps viewing in thein tegrated
    iPhone App? They don't is the answer. So then what is
    their motivation for keeping the field open I ask you? None
    is the answer your searching for. Yet for some reason they
    still allow access. Why? Well, I suspect that it is in no small
    part due to the leadership and direction that Eric Schmidt
    provides to his subordinates and because of his close
    relationship and personal interest in seeing Apple
    technologies (including the iPhone) succeed.

    As if that's not enough for you, all Google Services
    (including Google Apps) work just as well on Macs as they
    do on Windows. Google has done a good job of supporting
    the Mac. And instead of thanking them, and Mr. Schmidt as
    their leader and direction setter, you call for his ouster and
    to add insult to injury you say "good riddance" to the hard
    working man. That is a truly cruel thing to say for
    someone who did (and does) a good job. No matter what
    your feeling is towards the man, that is a cruel thing to
    say. It does not appear as though he holds any malice
    towards Apple. Even the products that overlap business
    segments are not direct competitors. As has been noted on
    this blog and this publication, Android and Chrome are
    more targeted at Windows Mobile and Windows Vista than
    they are at iPhone OS or Mac OS X. Therefore again I put it
    to you that your words are cruel and unjustified. Put
    yourself in his shoes. How you would like it if someone
    said that to you. I suspect that you would not be happy to
    hear it when all you tried to do was a bit of good.

    I think you are acting self-entitled and thankless and I find
    it disgusting.


    Instead of calling for (and unfortunately receiving) the
    resignation of a director whose company fully supports the
    Mac, you should have been directing your attention
    towards Bill Campbell and Intuit. Because as you rightly
    point out, they have not done nearly as good a job of
    supporting the Mac as Google has.

    I think you owe Mr. Schmidt a public apology for your cruel
    words and you owe the Apple shareholders an apology for
    calling for the resignation of a director whose company
    does the best job of any of supporting Apple technologies.

    And let's please stop with the militant cries and get back
    to balanced reporting which is what I expect from
    someone of your esteem.

    Sincerely,
    Aslam
    aslam_nathoo
    • Later

      Google supports the Mac... later, cf., maps, earth, etc., and now the
      chrome browser. The Mac has always been a second citizen at Google.
      Indeed, good riddance Mr. Schmitd!
      Eleutherios
    • Esteem? He has no esteem. He's just a blogger. Not even a journalist. (NT)

      NT
      No More Microsoft Software Ever!
  • In defense of Intuit...

    ....and I say this as someone who doesn't like Intuit much. However, their latest version of Quickbooks for Mac is, IMO, fully on-par with the Windows version, if not even better.

    Having said that, their immediately previous version of Quickbooks for Mac was a steaming pile of code that didn't work, couldn't convert formats, sometimes wouldn't even start.

    I don't use their products as a general rule because they have a "phone home" registering mechanism which I find offensive. But unfortunately there is no adequately competitive product for Quickbooks on the Mac.
    buzzl
  • I stopped using Quicken in '99.

    With online banking it was silly to retype everything into Quicken.
    No More Microsoft Software Ever!
  • All I can say, is I hope this one line from the blog, was not a complaint..

    <i>While Intuit titles have returned to the Mac, the distance between Mac versions and Windows versions remains vast and show no sign of parity.
    </i>
    <br>
    Knowing David Morganstein blogs, he is upset by this and doesn't understand why Apple is not treated fairly..*sniff* *sniff*

    Look up supply and demand David, then think about marketshare a while and maybe it'll pop into your brain, if it can squeeze in there with the Apple obsession.
    xuniL_z