Google CEO Eric Schmidt resigned from his position on Apple's Board of Directors on Monday over concerns of potential conflict of interest issues now that the two companies offer products that cross into the same areas. Google's Android and Chrome OS projects overlap with major parts of Apple's iPhone and Mac OS X business -- neither of which were issues when Mr. Schmidt joined Apple's board in August 2006.
"Eric has been an excellent Board member for Apple," said Apple CEO Steve Jobs. "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."
He added "We have mutually decided that now is the right time for Eric to resign his position on Apple's Board."
Mr. Schmidt and Apple previously fell under the watchful eye of the FCC when Google first announced its Android platform for smart phones, and again when the company announced its Chrome OS for netbooks. At the time, the FCC was looking into whether or not Mr. Schmidt's and Arthur Levison's involvement on the board of directors for both Apple and Google posed a conflict of interest or a threat to competition.
Mr. Schmidt's resignation comes only days after the FCC began looking into Apple's move to block Google Voice applications from the iPhone and iPod touch App Store. The agency is looking into why Google's own application was rejected, along with why third-party Google Voice apps were pulled from the online store.
Neither company is commenting on whether or not their relationship has become strained as they have moved closer to direct competition.