Eric Schmidt posts a cheeky ‘Christmas present’ to Apple iPhone customers
|Apple iPhone customers|
What is up with this post? Is there some concern by Schmidt that Apple users might not trust an ordinary Google marketing manager or engineer to write up this procedure? Or perhaps this task was too much for the Google marketing communications department, which could have “placed” a piece of “advertorial” on some blog that potential customers might find with a search engine such as, say, Google?
But those sources might not generate enough trust for Apple users. Hey, if you can trust anything in the Android world, you’ve gotta be able to trust Eric Schmidt, right? Not the ordinary Chairman but the Executive Chairman. (Could this is one of his new duties?)
What has always pushed my buttons (and according to reports that of Steve Jobs) was that Schmidt was a member of Apple’s board from 2006 to 2009. And during that very same time, Google began to compete with Apple. And obviously, Schmidt knew about the potential and actual conflicts of interest. And he didn’t remove himself from the board, which would have signaled the company’s intentions to the market.
I’ve have seen this history written along the lines that the “two companies began to compete with each other,” which is true but nonsense. The more honest reading is that it was Google that moved into Apple’s mobile, OS, system, and application space.
Back in 2009, I wrote a post about Schmidt’s leaving the Apple Board. In my estimation, Apple was very generous to him.
“Eric has been an excellent Board member for Apple, investing his valuable time, talent, passion and wisdom to help make Apple successful,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “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.”Come on! Maybe he’s going to spend some more time with his family too. How many announcements of competing products does it take for the Apple board to figure out that a board member isn’t pulling his or her weight?The writing for this ejection has been on the wall for years. Was it the Chrome OS? Was it a competing browser? Was it Google’s cloud applications that compete against Apple’s host-based and online sync services?Where is the “passion” to make Apple successful here? (Note that I’m not talking here about the responsibilities of the board for governance here and their possible dropping the dime on Steve Jobs’ absence and the lack of transparent planning for succession. Board members are also supposed to bring something of an industry perspective.)
According to reports, Schmidt says he never did anything wrong, that Steve Jobs and Apple understood his conflicts of interest when he joined the Apple Board, and that Jobs was never mad at him.
Or instead, we may see a pattern? This iPhone-2-Android switchers’ guide from Schmidt is just the latest bit of chutzpah from the Google Executive Chair. His latest laugh on Apple and perhaps Steve Jobs.