Arthur Levinson announced yesterday that he was resigning from Google’s board. Levinson was simultaneously acting as director on both Google and Apple’s boards.
Apple and Google are playing tit for tat as they continue to sort out their relationship in light of increasing interest in the two companies from the Federal Communications Commission and Federal Trade Commission.
The FTC had been concerned that Levinson's position on the boards of both Google and Apple would hurt competition between the companies.
Levinson's resignation takes effect immediately. He has been a director on Google’s board for more than five years. He will remain on Apple's board, where he has been a director for nine years.
FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz had said his organization was ready to sue the two companies over their conflicting interests. However, Leibowitz said that the move would make the need for litigation unnecessary.
"Google, Apple and Levinson should be commended for recognizing that overlapping board members between competing companies raise serious antitrust issues, and for their willingness to resolve our concerns without the need for litigation," Leibowitz stated.
The news comes just two months after Google CEO Eric Schmidt resigned from Apple’s board of directors, citing overlapping in the two companies’ businesses and a possible conflict of interest.
Meanwhile, the FCC's recent scrutiny of Apple and Google is part of a larger investigation into the nature of competition in the wireless industry. Most recently, the FCC took issue with the Apple App Store’s supposed rejection of the Google Voice App.
Apple initially said in a filing with the FCC that it had not rejected the App but was holding it for further review. However, weeks later, Google contradicted Apple's claim, citing a letter disclosing a July 7 phone conversation between Apple executive Phil Schiller and Google’s Alan Eustace. During the phone call, the Apple exec told Eustace that Apple was rejecting the Google Voice application.
As Google's open-source Android platform gains traction with handset manufacturers, the company is now competing head-on with Apple's iconic iPhone.