updated 02:55 pm EDT, Wed July 8, 2009
Chrome OS and Apple Board
Google's launch of Chrome OS today could create a conflict of interest that forces its chief Eric Schmidt off of Apple's board of directors. Although the two companies continue to collaborate on the iPhone, iLife and other projects, the creation of an operating system intended for full-fledged computers now means Google has products that can compete directly with two out of three of Apple's key businesses, as Android and now Chrome OS both give it a vested interest against the iPhone and Mac OS X.
Schmidt already has to regularly excuse himself from Apple board meetings whenever the iPhone is discussed and has lately had to defend himself from possible legal challenges as the US Federal Trade Commission investigates whether or not his connection to Apple treads on antitrust laws. Besides the operating system space, the two are positioned against each other in web browsers and in video delivery.
The two technology firms have typically avoided coming to blows by competing in different segments of a given market, including with Chrome OS. Android is the most evenly matched competitor but takes a very different policy to apps and features, encouraging background processes and apps that are largely unfiltered. Chrome OS is intended for netbooks, a category that Apple has consistently avoided due to quality concerns; it can also only run web apps where Mac OS X runs native code. YouTube also focuses on free, streaming content where iTunes usually only ofers paid downloads.
Neither Apple nor Google has yet to publicly comment on their views of the possible conflict. [via CNET]