Who are the two leading innovators in the technology industry today? Google (GOOG) and Apple (AAPL) would likely garner a lot of votes should we take an official survey. News that Google CEO Eric Schmidt will join Steve Jobs on Apple’s Board of Directors is very interesting. Warren Buffett and Bill Gates expanded their relationship in part via sharing seats on a board. That relationship has grown over the years and eventually resulted in Buffett’s gigantic donation to the Gates Foundation.
Does this mean that some sort of Apple-Google alliance or partnership is only a matter of time now that Jobs and Schmidt are on the same board? Not necessarily. Closer relationships can certainly lead to business ventures, but this is by no means assured. Does the potential for two technology leaders mean investors should consider buying shares of Apple or Google based on this news? Hardly.
Nonetheless, it is clear that Steve Jobs feels strongly that input from Google’s CEO could help it continue to grow. Five years ago Apple and Google would have had no place on a list of leading innovators in Silicon Valley. Things certainly do change rapidly in the industry, and that won’t be changing anytime soon.