With the announcement today that Google Inc. Chief Executive Eric Schmidt has resigned from the board of Apple Inc., the gauntlet of direct competition has been publicly thrown. In one way or another, Apple and Google have been competitors on the periphery, now the battle is front and center, and is squarely in Microsoft’s arena. All three compete for your path to the internet – Safari, Chrome, Internet Explorer, and all are or have boldly moved in the direction of controlling the desktop or netbook PC you work on – Mac OS, Chrome OS, Vista (soon to be Windows 7). All are playing in the mobile device space as well – iPhone OS, Android, Windows Mobile. The most fascinating aspect of this competition, aside from who will win, is that the method of participation for all three is very different.