Apple has announced that Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, will be stepping down from the company's board because of "potential conflicts of interest" between the two companies.
Steve Jobs said in a press statement that Dr Schmidt - who has been on Apple's board for nearly three years - has been "an excellent Board member for Apple, investing his valuable time, talent, passion and wisdom to help make Apple successful".
Google has been stepping up its products and services offerings and has been found competing directly with Apple on several fronts; Google Chrome OS is set to rival Apple's own Mac OS X while smartphones based on Google's own platform compete with Apple's iPhone handset and Chrome faces the threat of Apple's Safari browser.
When questioned, back in May, over the growingly uneasy situation of being on the boards of two major rival technology companies, Schmidt said that he did not see Apple as being a primary competitor to Google.
However, earlier this month, he did acknowledge that he will have to "talk to Apple senior management over his position at the technology company" over fears of potential conflicts of interest.
But the real reason why Schmidt stood down could be tied to the fact that federal regulators have been probing, over the last few months, whether the two companies were violating antitrust laws by sharing two directors.
Apple's CEO also added that “Unfortunately, as Google enters more of Apple’s core businesses, with Android and now Chrome OS, Eric’s effectiveness as an Apple Board member will be significantly diminished, since he will have to recuse himself from even larger portions of our meetings due to potential conflicts of interest. Therefore, we have mutually decided that now is the right time for Eric to resign his position on Apple’s Board.”