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Apple Googles for Greatness

What a strange week it's been for Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) . Earlier this week, the company announced an international advertising alliance with eBay (Nasdaq: EBAY  ) . Now we learn that Apple Computer (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) has warmed up a seat on its board of directors for Google CEO Eric Schmidt.

Schmidt's other appointments include Google, of course, and Princeton University.

A centered market-watcher wouldn't read too much into the move. Me? I'm rarely centered. My initial reaction is that this is just one more way for Google to draw a thicker battle line against Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) .

Microsoft and Apple have been fierce competitors for ages. Microsoft's move to introduce the Zune portable music player -- a clear stab at the lucrative iPod market -- is just the latest lunge.

Schmidt may not make Apple better in the boardroom, but his presence is likely to make Google's relationship with Apple better. Even though some of Google's smaller-scale endeavors, like pushing for budget-priced open-source PCs and digital music, may clash with Apple, the Mac maker is on the backburner of a very crowded Google stove, and it needs all the friends it can get.

Google and Apple are both good friends to have. My primary concern with a company like Audible (Nasdaq: ADBL  ) has been that it may one day have its spoken-word empire threatened by Apple's iTunes Music Store. Nonetheless, Apple and Audible have been chummy -- a firm handshake can sometimes be a moat.

So, sure, you may not want to read too much into Schmidt landing on Apple's board. A quality company's proven leader now has a seat in the boardroom at another proven quality company. It works even without the backstory. Go with that if you must. I'll stick to my theory that it's all about making Mr. Softy jealous. It's just more fun that way.

Microsoft is a selection in theInside Valuenewsletter service. eBay is aStock Advisorpick. Try any of our Foolish newsletters free for 30 days.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz thinks that an Apple a day will help keep the short sellers away. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. He is also part of theRule Breakersnewsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.The Fool has a disclosure policy.

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