updated 11:10 am EDT, Fri May 8, 2009
Schmidt on FTC probe
No plans exist to resign from Apple's board of directors, in spite of an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission, says Eric Schmidt. The Google CEO spoke to reporters in advance of the company's shareholders meeting, the Associated Press writes, defending himself against suggestions that his participation in Apple may violate antitrust laws. The Clayton Antitrust Act prevents someone from serving on two boards if it may hinder competition.
The interests of Apple and Google are thought to be merging at an increasing rate, with both companies now working on cellphone technology. Gmail and YouTube have become increasingly integrated into Apple hardware and software, and plans for "premium" content at YouTube may venture into territory occupied by the iTunes Store. The companies also produce their own web browsers in the form of Safari and Chrome.
Schmidt maintains that he has done nothing wrong however, and argues that the FTC will not find any problems in the Apple-Google connection. He observes for instance that the main focus of Google is on search, and that whenever the iPhone is discussed with Apple's board, he excuses himself from meetings. Such actions may nevertheless be insufficient to allay legal concerns.