In a surprise move, Google announced that Larry Page, one of its founders, will replace Eric Schmidt as the company’s CEO in April. The news came on the same week Apple announced that Steve Jobs, the man instrumental in iPod, iPhone and iPad, would be on medical leave without much more details. Was the timing coincidence or were both giants who are now fighting to become the ultimate leader in the smart-phone market somehow agreed to spook investors with their own respective news *grin*?
Compared with Steve Jobs, Eric Schmidt’s stepping down news was less damaging; at least that was what the stock price is telling us. Maybe it’s a must to put a few grey hairs to tell investors that a company is being run by a veteran but the fact is Google founders do not really care about telling Schmidt whenever they feel like buying a company. Schmidt admitted Larry Page and Sergey Brin bought Google Earth and Android without consulting the grey-hair Schmidt.
In the latest shake-up, Larry Page, 37, will return to his old position as CEO of the company while Sergey Brin, 37, will be Co-Founder and Eric Schmidt, 55, will stay on as executive chairman. Page started out as Google’s CEO when he and Brin started the business in a Silicon Valley garage and he (Page) was the reason Google’s search algorithm was known as “PageRank” – the commodity many tries to get its highest value in order to stay on the first page of a search result.
Eric Schmidt, formerly CTO of Sun Microsystems Inc. and CEO of Novell Inc. was forced into Google in 2001 by the company venture capitalists hence there was no love between the founders and Schmidt. Nevertheless with $35 billion in cash, Google is not going to lay low in its acquisition plans so Schmidt may be the best person to tackle any anti-trust concerns while leaving the younger Page and Brin in rejuvenate Google.
Already, 26-year-old Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been pinching dozens of engineers from Google so it’s time Page starts thinking and running the company as if it’s a startup. Maybe if Schmidt were to continue running the company, Google would die a natural death. Maybe Schmidt was lucky to be there at the right place and at the right time because over 10-year under his leadership, Google’s business still depends on Adwords. Critics said Schmidt ran Novell into the ground and his lack of vision hurt Sun Microsystem badly.
Maybe the time has come for Page and Brin to take over as they have grew-up and do not need a nanny anymore. Maybe Schmidt does not have the passion to take on the onslaught of Facebook hence the disappointment from both the founders. Whatever the reasons, Larry Page and Sergey Brin can’t stomach to see the rise of Mark Zuckerberg who was just named Time Magazine’s Person of the Year, an honour Page and Brin have never received.
Talking about fortune, Mark Zuckerberg is now worth as much as $15 billion – the net worth of both Page and Brin. Google is moving towards the direction of Microsoft, a once-dominant technology company that seems past its prime and perceived as stodgier. And it would be extremely foolish to assume social networking Facebook will not threaten its huge share of the online advertising market. It’s now or never for Google.
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Update: This article was republished after database corruption that caused the website inaccessible for 3-days. Web-hosting claimed it wasn’t their fault though