Apple said Monday that Google CEO Eric Schmidt will resign from the board of directors since the two companies increasingly compete.
In a statement, Apple CEO Steve Jobs said (emphasis mine):
“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.”
That's about as blunt as you can put it. No sense with Schmidt being on Apple's board since he wouldn't attend any meetings. Schmidt's resignation is essentially a proclamation that Google and Apple compete going forward.
The timing of Schmidt's resignation is interesting. The Federal Communications Commission is looking into Apple's decision to turn down Google Voice related apps. It's likely that those inquiries would put Apple and Google into an odd spot.
The resignation also shows that mobile is increasingly important. In fact, Google's Android may be the only viable competitor to the iPhone going forward. Sure, there's Palm, RIM and Windows Mobile, but the smartphone industry will be a game of courting developers, apps and ease of use. In the early going, Android has the parts.