Monday, August 03, 2009

Google/Apple tensions: Schmidt off Apple's Board

Erick Schonfeld of TechCruch wrote on 3 Aug 09 of Google CEO Eric Schmidt resigning from the Apple Board:

Google brought down the disapproving scrutiny of the FCC onto Apple on Friday night [July 31], and on Monday morning Schmidt resigned. It is difficult not to make a connection between these two events. The FCC investigation, of course, is never mentioned in the press release (that would only invite more pesky questions from the FCC). Instead, what Steve Jobs does say in the press release is that Google's entry into mobile operating systems with Android and desktop operating systems with Chrome OS is increasingly becoming a "conflict of interest" for Schmidt. As a result, Schmidt had to go. It also says that both executives "mutually decided" it was time for Schmidt to resign. (I can only imagine how that conversation went. Jobs: "You are going to have to resign." Schmidt: "Okay, but can I say it was my idea?")

Erick gets into the concept of "fiduciary duty" and of the conflict of interest between Schmidt as Apple director and as Google officer:

Apple is not about being open. It never has been. Every app on the iPhone (all 50,000 of them) must be approved individually, for instance. This difference in approach wasn't a problem until Google started to have mobile aspirations of its own. Asked to choose between furthering Apple's mobile agenda or Google's, Schmidt must choose Google's. It is his fiduciary duty. That conflict is only going to grow. And that is perhaps why Jobs says his "effectiveness as an Apple Board member will be significantly diminished."

Schmidt had to go. Not just because of the dust-up with the FCC and the Google Voice app. But because Google has a different set of agendas which already are putting strains on the relationship. Google wants to diminish the importance of any single computing device in favor of Web apps which sit in the cloud and are accessible from all devices?mobile phones, Macbooks, Dell laptops, or whatever. As much as is physically possible, it wants to replace the operating system with the Web.

Ultimately, that is a bigger threat to Apple than Microsoft ever was.

Cloud computing, again.

Steven Sande at TUAW talked about the Google/Apple/FCC business but then got into the business of eBay/Skype and US 7,568,213. The post then went to the use of wikipedia for prior art:

Volomedia's founder, Murgesh Navar, claims that the patent filing in 2003 was made "almost a year before the start of podcasting." Wikipedia's entry on podcasting bolsters this claim, noting that podcasting "began to take hold in late 2004."

BUT, then we get to the rub, as between Schonfeld and Sande, with Sande saying:

Apple, which provides millions of people with audio and video podcast content through iTunes, should be particularly vigilant in making sure that podcasting remains free and open. But Schonfeld had said: Apple is not about being open.

Could one say: "What a bunch of vague gobbly-gook." Not really, but that's what the IT guys always say about patent claims they don't understand, assuming they bothered to read them at all [see Torvalds].

Of Google stuff, see also

Microsoft and Google's Android


The Droid Eris is the iPhone killer.

Named after Eris the Greek Goddess of Discord. She started the Trojan War and did other things. The device is aptly named.

Droid because it is based on the Google Android software.


Post a Comment

<< Home