Time to dump Schmidt from Apple board (Updated)

Time to dump Schmidt from Apple board (Updated)

Summary: Since the announcement of its Chrome OS on Tuesday there has been a growing drumbeat calling for Eric Schmidt to step down from Apple's Board of Directors, and I agree. Schmidt has got to go.

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Google and Apple: Match made in hell?Since the announcement of its Chrome OS on Tuesday there has been a growing drumbeat calling for Eric Schmidt to step down from Apple's Board of Directors, and I agree. Schmidt has got to go.

A day after the announcement that Google would battle Microsoft and Apple in the desktop operating system market, CNet's Tom Krazit has been one of Schmidt's most vocal critics, calling for him to step down from Apple's board.

Krazit's logic is sound, arguing since Google's forthcoming Chrome OS compete with Mac OS X, a conflict exists with his presence on Apple's Board and that the companies are on a "collision course."

Would Microsoft ask Schmidt to be on its board? Not in this lifetime.

Schmidt has already acknowledged that he's recused himself from Apple's discussion of the iPhone, but is that enough? How long was he present during meetings about the iPhone while Android was still in secret development? This in and of itself is enough to remove Schmidt from the Apple board.

Now Google's developing an OS and will be a direct competitor to Apple. Will Schmidt recuse himself from all discussions of Mac OS X too? I sure hope so. The question that remains is what's left for Schmidt to sit in on? Which brings me to my point: What value does he bring to the Apple board?

Little collaboration has occurred between Google and Apple since Schmidt joined the Apple Board in August 2006 short of its release of the Maps application for the iPhone in 2007. Google docs and spreadsheets can't be edited on the iPhone, Chrome (the browser) still isn't available for the Mac, and Latitude doesn't work on the iPhone either.

What do you think? Should Apple fish or cut bait on Schmidt?

Image: GadgetTeaser

Update: Reuters reports that Schmidt will discuss with Apple "how his role on its board might change after Google's move to launch a new operating system."

Topics: Apple, CXO, Enterprise Software, Google, iPhone, Legal, Mobility

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Talkback

18 comments
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  • How much money does Apple have in the bank?

    $30 [b]BILLION[/b]? How about you? How much money do you have in the bank? Less than $30 [b]BILLION[/b]? Yeah, thought so.

    Why do all of you Apple haters feel you can tell Apple what to do when Apple is richer than you?
    NonZealot
    • Perhaps they own Apple stock.

      Their bank account size matters not. And they would have every right to tell Apple what to do.
      bjbrock
  • Apple has made it clear they aren't interested in netbooks

    So how is the introduction of a netbook OS a conflict of interest?

    You can make good reasons for Schmidt to step down, but Chrome isn't one of them.
    Michael Kelly
    • Do you really think...

      ...that Google are going to limit distribution to netbooks given it's compatible with x86 architecture?

      Be serious.
      Sleeper Service
      • But is it designed for anything larger than a netbook?

        I can run Vista on a netbook too, but I wouldn't do it, at least not on a productive machine.

        Perhaps once we see some code my opinion on that may change. But until we do I think any talk of Chrome being anything more than it's being advertised as is pure speculation.
        Michael Kelly
        • And yet...

          ...that hasn't stopped a gazillion bloggers and commenters predicting that it'll be the death of MS.

          Bluntly, Google are out to make money. They don't really care if that's at the expense of MS or Apple. I don't for a moment see them restricting this OS to netbooks.
          Sleeper Service
          • So does that mean you think the gazillions of bloggers are right?

            Personally I think their reaction is completely knee-jerk. It's way too soon to predict anything. The only thing I would comment on is potential.

            And yes, the potential is there for Chrome to expand outside of netbooks. However the intention has not been announced yet, so I think all this talk of kicking Schmidt off the board is premature.

            It is Apple's company so they should do whatever they find prudent. But if they are allowing Android which does indeed directly compete with one of their existing products, why would Chrome, which does not compete with any existing Apple product (note I am not saying it could not), be the straw that broke the camel's back?
            Michael Kelly
          • Absolutely not...

            ...I agree the reaction is knee jerk and it is really only foolish and sensationalist bloggers who have pushed this story to conclusions that simply aren't supported by what remains a piece of vapourware at present.

            The comical pronouncements of some of them would laughable if they weren't so tragically predictable.
            Sleeper Service
          • Well, I'd have thought that the SEC would have...

            Taken a good long look at Schmidt's positions on those boards. If they're happy with it, as apparently are Apple and Google, then bloggers like this should be canned/censured/ridiculed etc.
            zkiwi
          • Drivers, Drivers, Drivers

            The more systems you support, the more you have to pay attention to
            the drivers. Chrome OS is a free giveaway, right? Where's the revenue
            model to support either developing or licensing the proprietary tech
            for the things people will want to attach to their systems? What about
            the complexity of multi-core architectures?

            At the moment, I read this as giving underpowered systems a way to
            exploit cloud computing. Google is thinking, like Netscape before it,
            like Canonical today, that there's money there, if it can get the user
            base built.

            Call it the "if they come, then you'll build it (and we'll sell you the
            lumber)" model.

            That's a big disruption to instigate or catalyze and so, for the
            moment, I think it is a case of do this for netbooks and see what
            happens.

            DannyO_0x98
  • No multi-touch on Android

    Seems like a while back there was a stink about Google for some reason agreeing not to use multi-touch on Android, IIRC, anyway, has anyone asked if Schmidt had anything to do with this seemingly odd sort of gentleman's agreement? Just asking.
    eggmanbubbagee@...
    • It has everything to do with it

      It has to do with the fact that Apple does have a patent, but the general feeling is that this patent could easily be challenged. But if Google did that then it would jeopardize Schmidt's seat.

      And of course Android can be unlocked to enable multi-touch but Apple has looked the other way on that.
      Michael Kelly
  • As big tech companies overlap, who should be on Apple's board?

    I'm not arguing there aren't issues with Schmidt being on
    Apple's board but the question then is with Tech
    companies overlapping who should be on Apple's board?

    For example even chip makers like Intel overlap into
    Apple as Apple now has many in house chip designers and
    has bought P.A semi.

    If you remove all the overlap tech companies you're left
    with basically nothing, so Apple's board will be made up of
    non tech guys.

    Andrea Jung I think Apple's newest Board of Directors
    member is from Avon, she's smart and brings new
    perspective into Apple but can we have ALL the board
    members from a non tech background?

    Imagine if all the Board members of Apple are made of
    people who don't have a DEEP (that's deep like Steve Jobs,
    Scott Forstall type deep) knowledge of tech hardware,
    software, engineering and marketing. If all the board were
    made up of bankers, guys from maybe the auto industry or
    Proctor and Gamble, Coca Cola or something like that it'll
    be a disaster.

    Will Apple be better served with Schmidt or say a guy from
    McDonalds?

    This issue has not been discussed in any of the blogs
    I've read talking about the Schmidt problem.

    Davewrite
  • RE: Time to dump Schmidt from Apple board

    Except, Apple isn't in the os business. What?? What about
    "I'm a PC, I'm a Mac?" What about "Redmond start your
    copiers?" What about "ironically Windows users will have to
    pay for Exchange support?"

    Apple sell computers that work in a particular way in part
    because of the operating system. (The gui and frameworks
    also make a difference.) Buy a Mac with intention to toss
    OS X and they are still quite happy to book that sale. Heck,
    they even advertise that they make it easy for you to have
    that Mac running Windows.

    They do sell updates to the os to systems owners and very
    plainly, lawsuit obviously, do not want any one to buy the
    os except those who have a Mac.

    Meanwhile, Chrome OS is nothing more than a name and a
    target release date in 2010. It's (yet) another operating
    system and one that seems thin-client-ish at that.

    In the meantime, as long as his fellow board members and
    the shareholders believe that Mr. Schmidt is pulling his
    weight in regards to strategic issues, I don't see as how it's
    fodder for exhortations to man the ramparts.

    Now, one's opinion might mean something if one is an
    Apple shareholder. I assume that is disclosed when it is
    the case and the advice, if followed, could have a material
    effect on the stock price. Other than that or direct
    knowledge that it was Schmidt who put the kibosh the
    Apple Tablet, I'm not sure why it matters to our Mr.
    O'Grady.
    DannyO_0x98
  • Because ethically and morally, its the right choice.

    It comes down to ethics and morality. Regardless of Apple or Google sells their products and services, they are now by every legal definition of the word, competitors. They both make software, Operating Systems, and internet based services. By every legal, moral, and ethical sense of the word, there is a huge conflict of interest. More importantly as the author and his sources have stated, its illegal.

    The iPhone version of OS-X is a mobile OS. Android is a mobile OS. Google Chrome is a netbook/laptop/desktop OS. OS-X is a laptop/desktop OS. That's enough to say you two definitely can or will compete against each other, whether intentionally or unintentionally. If both Apple and Google are ran by moral and ethical men, just the idea that there is a conflict, SHOULD be enough for Eric Schmidt to resign.

    Or if they want to stay this course, to make it fair, perhaps Bill Gates, Linus Torvald's, Opera's CEO, and Canonical's CEO should join Apple's board. That way, all the major players are on Apple's board and can "excuse" themselves everytime a conflicting discussion should arise.

    Sound ridiculous? Almost as ridiculous as a board member excusing himself on a competing product? Wouldn't his access alone to such materials give Google the upper hand and be hurting Apple? I seriously doubt that Steve Jobs or Phil Schiller would sit on Google's board?
    Solid Jedi Knight
    • Question:

      What is the difference between 'ethically' and 'morally' and 'right-vs-wrong'?

      What happened to plain language? Just say 'right' when you mean right. Or do you mean to say that something can be morally good but ethically wrong, or ethically good but not right? Or 'wrong' but still ethically?

      Stop using that bs language man. Just say what you mean.
      nizuse
  • RE: Time to dump Schmidt from Apple board

    The Google OS has been explained that it is for people who
    browse the web and do email. It is not for people who use
    PhotoShop or edit video. For that, you will always need Mac
    or Windows - and a more powerful machine than a netbook.
    veggiedude
  • Not our call

    Eric will dumped or not when the board (not, you nor I) decide it is the correct thing to do.

    I hate posts that are designed/written solely for the purpose of page views. Especially given that I don't see ANY adverts.
    davebarnes