Google CEO Quits Apple Board
MADELEINE BRAND, host:
Two enormous Silicon Valley companies are no longer as cozy as they once were. Google CEO Eric Schmidt has resigned from the board of Apple. Apple and Google had joined forces against their common rival: Microsoft. More and more, though, Apple and Google are competitors over lots of things, including the all-important app. Here to explain is Tom Krazit. He's staff writer with CNET News. And Eric Schmidt resigned, Tom, because of conflicts of interest. What were they?
Mr. TOM KRAZIT (Staff Writer, CNET News): Well, Eric Schmidt was on the board of two companies that are increasingly on a collision course. I mean, both Google and Apple are really looking at a lot of the same areas when it comes to the future of computing, most specifically mobility - and then also the idea of just pure operating system development as we've known it. And with the announcement of Google's intention to develop an operating system called Chrome OS, that would ostensibly compete with both Windows and Mac, you know, the writing was kind of on the wall.
BRAND: But doesn't it come down to also these applications? And Apple has, what, 50,000 applications, apps. And Google wants to get in on some of that.
Mr. KRAZIT: Well, that's what I was sort of referring to with the developers. I mean, you're trying to get people to see your device and your platform as the place they want to spend their effort. And to develop the cool things, they get people to buy your particular phone.
BRAND: Because Google has its own phone and…
Mr. KRAZIT: That's right. But Google is also working hard on trying to get developers to think of the browser as the place to put their applications. This is sort of an evolving notion of computing where, you know, the things that you do, I mean, look at Facebook, for example, right? Like, how many people spend hours and hours on Facebook and that's something that runs entirely within the browser. And then there are little applications that run on top of Facebook, as well.
And none of that actually runs on your computer. It runs on the browser inside the window connected to the Internet. And that's the feature of development that Google is pushing very strongly. You know, Apple is a bit more traditional. They develop software that runs directly on computers. But Google's thought is that they can have something far more lightweight to get people onto their side.
BRAND: Well, what is the departure of Eric Schmidt mean for iPhone users? And is it possible that iPhone users could lose these popular applications like the search function on Google, like the map function, like YouTube, which are very, very popular on iPhones?
Mr. KRAZIT: I don't think you should think of this as that dramatic, you know, where all of a sudden both companies are going to retrench and, you know, stop collaborating at all. I mean, you know, just because Apple and Google don't have a formal relationship on the board of directors does not mean that they will still be partners. And there's an awful lot areas, like the ones you just mentioned, where, you know, to remove those things from the iPhone would really cause more of an upheaval than I really think either Apple or Google thinks is warranted here.
BRAND: So, for now we are not going to be able to see much of a difference in terms of how we use our computers or our phones.
Mr. KRAZIT: That's true to a certain extent. I mean, we've seen just recently, though, that a Google application for the iPhone that would've allowed you to make calls from your phone and, you know, make - you receive incoming calls to your work phone or your home phone through one application on your cell phone, that particular application, Google Voice for the iPhone, was rejected by Apple. So, we've already seen some sort of tension between the two companies.
We don't know if that was directly related to the situation with Schmidt. But I think things like that are going to be more of the exception than the rule because Google is just too important in terms of the services that it offers on the Internet to really get Apple to say, well, we don't no longer want to work with you. I mean, Google is the company you work with.
And likewise, Apple, you know, has really, arguably, the best mobile phone on the market right now. And Google's not going to want to, you know, put its head in the sand and say, oh, you can't run our services on your phone.
But I think that the thing for Apple is going to be that they are losing someone who did have a unique perspective on the future of Internet technologies and how that might impact the development of both the Mac and the iPhone. So, now that he's gone, you know, it doesn't mean that they are suddenly adrift. But it does mean that they have to, you know, take what they've learned and expand on it.
BRAND: Tom Krazit is a staff writer with CNET News. Tom, thank you.
Mr. KRAZIT: You're welcome.
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