Google CEO Eric Schmidt may have resigned from the Apple Board only in 2009, but the tussle between Schmidt and Steve Jobs had begun as early as 2007 soon after rumors of Google manufacturing an iPhone competitor first started doing the rounds.
This is one of the several interesting revelations made in a recent article on Silicon Valley gossip blog, ValleyWag.
According to the article, Steve Jobs was extremely unhappy about Google’s intentions to work on an iPhone competitor, especially at a time when its CEO was on Apple’s Board advising Cupertino on its strategies for the iPhone. The article notes from a source that the first signs of dissent was made in a phone call from Jobs to Schmidt while the latter was commuting to the Burning Man festival. ValleyWag writes:
“Schmidt’s mobile phone rang on the highway between Reno and Burning Man’s movable city in Black Rock Desert. It was Jobs, angry. The call then dropped; bad signal, middle of nowhere.
Schmidt located a convenience store and used a pay phone to call Jobs back. The Apple CEO “shouted” at Schmidt and “railed” at him, furious about his smartphone plans and duplicity, said our source. After all, Schmidt sat on Apple’s board and was supposed to be a partner on the iPhone, providing internet services like maps.
Schmidt, enduring the abuse, visibly lost his composure; his face went “weird,” said our source.”
While Steve Jobs’ heated exchange with Eric Schmidt could have been in the heat of the moment, it goes without saying that Steve Jobs’ reaction was understandable considering that Google’s smartphone ambitions can be seen as a betrayal of Schmidt’s position at the Apple Board. Having said that, with mobile technology being touted to be the dominant medium for the future, it also needs to be noted that Google’s foray into the segment could not have been delayed at the cost of the company’s partnership with Apple. Many believe that the lawsuit against HTC is directed towards Google’s Android rather than the smartphone manufacturer.
In my opinion, Eric Schmidt should have resigned from Apple’s Board as soon as Google has started thinking of developing a mobile OS to avoid the conflict of interest rather than waiting until 2009.
Let us know your thoughts in the comments.