Fun fact: Google CEO Eric Schmidt has been on the Apple board of directors since August 2006. That's coming to an end, though. Apple announced this morning that Schmidt was stepping down from his position.
For once, Apple isn't shy about disclosing precise reasons behind an important move. Here's what Apple CEO Steve Jobs says in the official announcement:
Unfortunately, as Google enters more of Apple's core businesses, with Android and now Chrome OS, Eric's effectiveness as an Apple Board member will be significantly diminished, since he will have to recuse himself from even larger portions of our meetings due to potential conflicts of interest.
As Spock might say, that all seems perfectly logical. As noted, Google already competes against the iPhone with its Android mobile platform, and the search giant will soon cross swords with Apple in the operating system world thanks to Chrome OS. Apple also faces competition from Chrome, which uses the same rendering engine as Safari, in the browser world. If you're curious, the folks at 9 to 5 Mac have pointed out even more areas of overlap, including consumer photo software, productivity software, and video services.