Google CEO to stay on Apple board despite inquiry

Google CEO Eric Schmidt said he doesn't plan to resign from Apple's board despite a government inquiry into whether the ties between the two companies violate antitrust law.

Schmidt made his remarks Thursday in response to questions posed by reporters before Google's annual shareholder meeting. A Google lawyer confirmed recently published reports that the Federal Trade Commission is looking into whether the company's overlapping board relationships with Apple will discourage future competition.

Both Schmidt and former Genentech Inc. CEO Arthur Levinson are directors at Google and Apple. The two companies both are working in mobile phones, Web browsers and some Internet services such as digital picture management, but Schmidt said he doesn't regard Apple as a "primary competitor."

The FTC inquiry is one of several signs that the government is taking a closer look at Google and its increasing dominance in Internet search and advertising. Last year Google Inc. and Yahoo Inc. abandoned plans for a Web ad partnership after running into objections in the Justice Department.

Google shares fell $6.86, 1.7%, to close at $396.61 before the shareholder meeting began. The shares have traded between $247.30 and $599.49 over the past 52 weeks.