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Google CEO Eric Schmidt has expressed an intention to keep his seat on Apple's board of directors despite a competition enquiry by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

It was recently reported that the FTC is looking into the possibility of reduced competition arising from Schmidt and Arthur Levinson sitting on the boards of both Google and Apple.

Schmidt does not take part in Apple board discussions concerning the iPhone due to a possible conflict of interest between Apple and Google, as the latter produces the Android operating system for smartphones and (soon) netbooks.

Kent Walker, an attorney for Google, has confirmed that the FTC is talking to the company about the overlapping directorships.

Google's position is that there is no overlapping revenue between the two companies, and therefore competition cannot be reduced by having directors in common.

For example, both companies produce web browsers for the Windows operating system (Chrome from Google and Safari from Apple), but neither company charges for the software.

And although both create an operating system for mobile phones, Android is open source and can be used by any phone vendor without payment.

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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences, a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies, and is a senior member of the Australian Computer Society.

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