Google’s Conflicts of Interest

As Google gets bigger and bigger, and expanding their reach into different service areas, they are running the risk of conflict of interest. As it has been said before, Eric Schmidt, Google’s CEO has a seat on the Apple board. He revealed earlier in June, that he has left the room during several Apple board meetings several time when the iPhone comes up. If you haven’t figured it out yet, Android is practically a direct competitor to the device. Where one is software only and the other is a handset and platform, it would still be like having the head of Wal-Mart sitting in on Target’s discussions.

There are a few other notable Google conflicts with various board members to take note of.

John Doerr sits on the Amazon board. The web giant offers services which compete with Google’s App Engine. He also invests on startups writing applications for the Iphone, having tossed some money into the Apple iFund’s $100 million pool.

John Hennessy is a member of Cisco’s board. This could be an issue as Google and Cisco can’t seem to agree on who should get the biggest swath of the new wireless spectrum.

Sergey Brin’s wife, Ann Wojcicki is a founder of bio startup 23andMe which Google threw a little venture capital towards.

Director Ann Mather served as a board member for before eBay scooped it up. Don’t forget that eBay and PayPal have a similar agenda to Google Checkout. She might remember a thing or two from when she worked there.

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  1. Whoa, WTF? Need to do your research before posting Mr. Sabre!

    …Android is Open Source and costs $0.00 which by definition eliminates any potential “conflict of interest”.

  2. In his defense.. and the original article too… There’s a serious conflict if you let a CEO of one company sit in on meetings from another company involved in similar/direct business. It would be impossible for him, or any others, “forget” what they heard or saw in meetings.

  3. In this article I see more reasons for more potential delays.

    Also, July the 11th is approaching and I don’t see any HTC Dream leaks on the horizon. Their loss.

  4. @Scott I am well aware of the various Google executives are in the room during board meetings for other comapnies, but it is not a “conflict of interest” in the legally liable way. Mr. Schmidt is just being polite by leaving the room when the conversation turns to the iPhone at Apple.

    If I was Mr. Schmidt I’d leave the room too, I wouldn’t want to hear all the evil things AT&T is planning for the iPhone, it’d make me sick to my stomach too ( Re: current DirecTV ads making fun of cable customer satisfaction ).

    Reminder Steve Jobs is president of Apple and Pixar ( and a board member of Disney, ESPN, ABC television and news too ) but I imagine he offers no such gratuity when talk of iTunes store selling Universal TV shows comes up.

  5. @Todd its sure that Android is open source and costs 0$ for the final customer but…as you may noticed todd, a big revolution is just shining and google whill rewrite the rules particularly how to make money on carrier area and that is the crucial point.
    dont you think ?

  6. Yes Android will be the most distruptive thing the mobile phone industry has ever seen. I am just stressing that “conflict of interest” is too harsh a term to apply to Mr. Schmidt in the context of his role at Apple. If there truly was a “conflict of interest” in the SEC sense of the term, he’d resign from Apple’s board.

    “Overlap”, “Awkwardness”, maybe even “Too close for comfort” ( hence his leaving the room ) may be more accurate.

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