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Monday, October 12, 2009, 06:45 am PT (09:45 am ET)

Levinson resignation means Apple, Google boards sever last tie

Google announced Monday that Dr. Arthur Levinson resigned from the company's board of directors, severing its last common link with Apple's own board.

Levinson, former CEO of Genentech, remains on Apple's own board of directors. His presence with both companies had been the subject of an ongoing investigation by the Federal Trade Commission over anticompetitive concerns.

Previously, Google CEO Eric Schmidt had served on the Apple Board of Directors, but stepped down as his company and Apple began to compete more heavily in numerous markets. The announcement of Chrome OS and the debut of the Android mobile phone platform were cited by Apple co-founder Steve Jobs as examples of Google entering more of Apple's core businesses.

Levinson had served on Google's board since 2004. In a statement, Schmidt praised him as a friend and colleague.

"Art has been a key part of Google's success these past five years, offering unvarnished advice and vital counsel on every big issue and opportunity Google has faced," Schmidt said. "Though he leaves as a member of our board, Art will always have a special place at Google."

Levinson shared kind words about his with Google. No reason for his departure was given.

"Working with Eric, Larry, Sergey and the whole Google team has been a remarkable experience for me," he said. "I greatly admire what they've built and have no doubt that Google has a terrific future."

Earlier this month, Schmidt had commented that Levinson should not resign from his position, despite the FTC investigation.

Levinson's time on Apple's board since 2000 has proved profitable. In 2005, he cashed in on more than $2.6 million in Apple common stock when he sold 30,000 shares. More recently, he accepted $8,923 worth of free gear from the company. Apple's directors are entitled to one of each of the company's new products, as well as discounts on hardware purchases.