Google confirms FTC 'discussion' pending over Schmidt-Apple relationship

Google does not believe that CEO Eric Schmidt's participation on the boards of both Google and Apple presents a problem, but confirmed the FTC is taking a look.

Tom Krazit Former Staff writer, CNET News
Tom Krazit writes about the ever-expanding world of Google, as the most prominent company on the Internet defends its search juggernaut while expanding into nearly anything it thinks possible. He has previously written about Apple, the traditional PC industry, and chip companies. E-mail Tom.
Tom Krazit

Correction at 2:50 p.m. PDT: This story initially misquoted Kent Walker. He confirmed that Google was aware of a "pending FTC discussion" into Schmidt's board seats.

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.--Google confirmed that the Federal Trade Commission plans to hold discussions with the company over a possible conflict of interest due to CEO Eric Schmidt's participation on both Google and Apple's board of directors.

In response to questions posed by reporters during a lunch meeting with Google executives--including Schmidt--Google vice president and general counsel Kent Walker confirmed that Google was aware of a "pending FTC discussion" into Schmidt's board seats, which was reported earlier in the week by The New York Times.

Google does not believe Schmidt's role on Apple's board presents a problem, and encourages company members to participate on boards, said David Drummond, Google's chief legal officer and senior vice president for corporate development.

Schmidt reiterated that he recuses himself from discussions inside Apple that involve areas in which the companies overlap, such as the iPhone. When asked if he recuses himself from any other discussions inside Apple, he said "not that I recall."