Schmidt plans talks with Apple over board role

Following Google's announcement of its Chrome OS project, CEO Eric Schmidt and Apple might have to consider his board service in a new light.

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
2 min read
Google's Eric Schmidt will discuss his board role at Apple with the company following the announcment of Chrome OS. Elinor Mills/CNET

Google CEO Eric Schmidt said Thursday that he plans to discuss his role on the board of directors at Apple with the company following Google's announcement that it is working on an operating system for personal computers.

Schmidt has served on Apple's board since 2006. He has already implemented a policy of recusing himself from discussions involving the iPhone at Apple, given that Google's Android software competes with the iPhone for consumer and developer attention, but before his appearance at the Sun Valley media conference Thursday, he had not responded to direct inquires about whether he'll now have to do something similar when Mac OS X development is discussed at Apple.

While the announcement of Google's Chrome OS won't result in any products that compete with Apple until 2010--at the earliest--Schmidt told attendees at the conference, sponsored by Allen & Co., that he'll talk the situation over with Apple at some point in the future. Google and Apple have already reportedly drawn interest from the Federal Trade Commission over Schmidt's role on that board, which isn't likely to subside given Google's new direction.

Schmidt, who appeared on stage at the conference with Google co-founder Larry Page, also said that Page and Sergey Brin needed to talk him into the Chrome browser and OS project at first. "Having come through the bruising browser wars, I didn't want to do that again," the Wall Street Journal's Digits blog quoted him saying in response to questions about Chrome OS. Once Schmidt saw a demo, however, he obviously changed his mind.