Apple has announced that Google CEO Eric Schmidt has joined the Apple Board of Directors. He also sits on Google’s board of directors and Princeton University’s board of trustees. The other members of Apple’s board are currently Fred Anderson, Apple’s former chief financial officer; Intuit chairman and former CEO Bill Campbell; J. Crew chairman and CEO Millard Drexler; documentarian and former Vice President Al Gore (for those who haven’t seen his global warming movie “An Inconvenient Truth,” it’s also one heck of a plug for Apple laptops and Keynote); Apple co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs; Genentech chairman and CEO Arthur D. Levinson; and Jerry York, chairman, president, and CEO of Harwinton Capital.
Although Eric Schmidt’s experience with Google (and Novell and Sun Microsystems before that) will no doubt be an asset to Apple’s board, it’s hard to avoid speculating if this means there will be closer ties between Apple and Google in the future. Google has done perhaps the best job of any primarily Web-based company at supporting Macintosh browsers and putting out Macintosh versions of software, including tools like the graphical mapping application Google Earth and the 3-D modeling program Google SketchUp. Then again, Intuit chairman Bill Campbell was an Apple board member when his company decided to kill Quicken for Mac before Steve Jobs intervened (see “Quicken Speeds Back to Mac”, 11-May-98), and the Mac version still lags behind its Windows cousin.