Google-Apple link sparks worries

Cooperation between tech giants Google and Apple may shift following Google's announcement of a new operating system for netbooks and--potentially--desktop computers, according to Reuters. Indeed, Google CEO Eric Schmidt began recusing himself from Apple board meetings where the iPhone was discussed after Google launched its Android play.

Google and Apple cooperate and compete at various levels, and the fact that Schmidt has a seat on Apple's board recently spurred the U.S. Federal Trade Commission to look into ties between the two companies that may violate antitrust laws.

The situation is notable considering the companies' interrelated dealings. On one hand, Google supplies Apple with software; the company's Maps program forms the basis for Apple's iPhone mapping service. But at the same time, Google's Android OS for cell phones competes directly with the iPhone--and now Google's newly introduced Chrome OS could compete directly with Apple's operating system for desktop computers. (Google said its Chrome OS offer would initially be targeted at netbooks, where Apple has so far refused to play.)

Thus, Google's Schmidt said today he would discuss how his role on the Apple board may change. "I'll talk to the Apple people. At the moment, there's no change," Schmidt said, according to Reuters.

Schmidt also discussed Google's stance on the differences between its Chrome OS and Android. He said the two products are closely related and could eventually "merge even closer."

Separately, new numbers from Credit Suisse analyst Bill Shope show Apple may have another blockbuster iPhone quarter. According to Barron's, Shope thinks Apple sold 4.24 million iPhones in the most recent quarter, above his prior estimate of 3.86 million. Apple reports results July 21.

For more:
- see this Reuters article
- see this Barron's article

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