Google CEO won’t quit Apple’s board

eric-schmidt-wont-quit-apple

Google CEO Eric Schmidt said he doesn’t plan to resign from Apple’s board despite government inquiry.

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has begun an investigation into whether Google and Apple are violating antitrust laws by sharing two board members.

The Clayton Antitrust Act of 1914 prohibits a person’s presence on the board of two rival companies when it would reduce competition between them.

Both companies are working in mobile phones, Web browsers and some Internet services, leading to possible conflicts of interest.

But in a media session held Thursday before Google’s annual shareholders meeting in Mountain View, California, Schmidt said he doesn’t regard Apple as a “primary competitor.”

He echoed that sentiment when a shareholder later asked him to step down from Apple’s board to avoid further government scrutiny.

Google is also the center of a separate investigation by the Justice Department in relation to its project to digitize millions of books. But executives said they welcomed the inquiry and that market leaders should not be immune from it.

“We should expect governments around the world to pay attention to what we do,” Schmidt said, “and also to hold us to the principles that we’ve articulated.”