• Google, Apple Growing Apart Even From Within

    Image via Gabe's Guide

    Google and Apple are hacking away at any ties that bind.

    This morning the Inquirer (along with scores of other media outlets) is reporting that Arthur D. Levinson, the former head honcho at Genentech, is leaving Google’s board.

    Genentech chairman Arthur Levinson joined the boards of Apple in 2000 and Google in 2004 and his double responsibilities are thought to be the reason why the Federal Trade Commission has continued to investigate links between the two companies.
    Leading up to Levinson's resignation, the FCC implied that it was fully prepared to strongarm both companies into severing their board ties, even through legal means if necessary.

    In August, the FTC commended the decision by Google chief executive Eric Schmidt to step down from the Apple board, after expressing concerns that shared directors between the two firms raise competitive issues, as Google and Apple increasingly compete with each other.
    Although the FCC is thrilled with Levinson's decision as the regulatory body remains borderline obsessed with the potential evils of "overlapping board members," does the FCC not recognize that it would be somewhat difficult for antitrust issues to develop when both Apple and Google have anything but a buddy-buddy relationship conducive to teamwork.

    The public soap opera, for example, rages on as Google continues accusing Apple of rejecting the Google Voice app for the iPhone. Although Apple maintains that the app is still "under review," the controversial tug of war between Apple and Google similarly drew attention from the Federal Communications Commission.

    Am I the only one who is having a difficult time seeing what the FCC would define as a happy middle ground here? Does the FCC want Apple to work with Google or not? The mixed signals are enough to make your head spin.

    Regulators and board positions aside, there is bad blood between Google and Apple. That much is clear. Where the suspicions of collusion and fears of antitrust originate is confusing to some - myself included.
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