Google CEO Says Shared Board Member with Apple Passes Regulatory Test

Google CEO Eric Schmidt
Google CEO
Eric Schmidt

Google CEO Eric Schmidt said on Friday that there is no problem with his company and Apple sharing a board member, former Genentech CEO Arthur Levinson. According to Reuters, Mr. Schmidt said that the two companies easily passed regulatory tests regarding revenue overlap between companies that do share board members.

At a conference hosted by the Atlantic and the Aspen Institute, Mr. Schmidt was asked if he felt Mr. Levinson should step down from one company or the other. He said, "I would hope not... because I don't think it's necessary," adding that "Google and Apple are well below" the percentage of revenue overlap that would run afoul of regulatory problems.

That said, Mr. Schmidt himself stepped down from Apple's board of directors earlier this year. His resignation came in the face of the very same regulatory scrutiny behind the questions about Mr. Levinson.

There has been speculation that the intent was to remove any potential for problems for the two companies, and to also address growing questions about Mr. Schmidt having to recuse himself from Apple board members where the iPhone and other topics where Google competed were discussed.

This might beg the question of why he would resign from Apple's board if the two companies "easily passed" the test in question, but Mr. Schmidt seemed quite adamant about both the benefit to the two companies in sharing Mr. Levinson, and indeed of his own company's love of Apple.

At the conference he said, "The iPhone is our largest source of mobile search queries. The iPhone itself is responsible for 30 or 40 times more of our search queries than anything else. So we love the iPhone and we love the apps that drive it."