Google CEO resigns from Apple board

Google CEO Eric Schmidt has resigned from Apple's board of directors.

His exit comes days after the US Federal Communications Commission launched a probe into Apple’s rejection of Google Voice from its App Store.

“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,” Apple CEO Steve Jobs said.

“Therefore, we have mutually decided that now is the right time for Eric to resign his position on Apple’s board.”

“I have very much enjoyed my time on the Apple board,” Schmidt told Bloomberg. “But as Apple explained today we’ve agreed it makes sense for me to step down now.”

The decision is a reversal from three months ago, when Schmidt said he had no plans to resign despite pressure from trade officials and the Department of Justice to do so.

But increasingly the two Silicon Valley companies find themselves on each other’s turf. Since joining the board in 2006, Google has launched the Android smartphone OS, which competes with Apple's iPhone, and Chrome, which challenges Apple’s desktop OS and Safari browser.

Despite Schmidt’s departure, the US Federal Trade Commission said it would continue to investigate ties between the companies' boards.

“We have been investigating the Google/Apple interlocking directorates issue for some time and commend them for recognizing that sharing directors raises competitive issues,” bureau of competition director Richard Feinstein said.

One director, Art Levinson, currently sits as non-executive director on both boards.