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Why Did Google's Schmidt Join Apple Board?

The New York Times reports that the announcement of Google's CEO joining the Apple board touched off a wave of speculation about the motives of the man behind the move: Apple's co-founder, Steven P. Jobs. While Google’s and Apple’s strategies are aligned in many ways, there are also potential areas of conflict. Both companies are rumored to be developing smartphones that would potentially compete.

Clearly, the big media companies will be watching this new development very closely, as they attempt to defend their legacy news and entertainment turf. The global wireless service providers also have reason to be curious -- will they now work on a mobile smartphone design together, and is this good or bad for the telco sector?
There are many possibilities for a complementary strategy between their companies. This week, for example, Google announced that it was beginning to weave together a number of services that could be a Web-based competitor to Microsoft Office.

And Mr. Jobs has skillfully driven a wedge into the dominant PC computing standard established by Microsoft’s Windows software and Intel’s hardware -- the so-called Wintel alliance -- by recently adopting Intel’s processor for Apple’s Macintosh computers.

Mr. Schmidt’s appointment set off chatter about linking the Google search engine to iTunes, Apple’s online music service -- reinforcing Apple’s pre-eminence in a category where Microsoft is seeking a grip. That would also have broader implications for the entertainment industry, an industry repeatedly put on the defensive by both Apple and Google.

“The studios, and for that matter, all the copyright owners, don’t want to see only one place become their sole retail outlet -- whether it is Google or Apple or Sony,” said William Randolph Hearst III, a veteran Silicon Valley executive and investor.

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