The news that Eric Schmidt is resigning from Apple's board is a clear sign of what we're already aware of - that the businesses of both companies are getting too close for comfort. If you're like me, you may not have been aware that Schmidt was on Apple's board, and would find it surprising that he's been on the board for the last three years. One of the main reasons that this move has come about is due to the Federal Trade Commission's investigations into possible antitrust violations.
Apple's Steve Jobs had the following comment on Schmidt's departure
“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.”
All of this shows us how things have changed over the past few years in Silicon Valley. Google and Apple were always the good guys, with Microsoft perceived to be the ones we had to watch out for. Three years ago when Schmidt joined Apple's board, both companies had little in common, apart from trying to beat their common competitor, Microsoft.
But now both companies have competing mobile platforms with Android and the iPhone. And more importantly Google have moved into the operating system market with Chrome. With the removal of these conflicts of interest, it's inevitable that we are about to see more aggressive competition between Google and Apple.