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Google CEO Larry Page on Apple's "thermonuclear war": "How well is that working?"

Posted: , by Michael H.

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Google CEO Larry Page on Apple's
Larry Page took over as CEO of Google in April of 2011, although insiders say that the job was always his, Eric Schmidt was simply "keeping the seat warm" until Page was ready. On the technology side of things, there wasn't much doubt the Page had the skills, but when dealing with the media, Page was a bit reserved at first. But, he's growing more confident, and in a a new interview with Wired, Page is ready to take swings at Facebook. He even commented on Apple's "thermonuclear war" with a confident and clear "How well is that working?".

The key to the interview was that Page really set out his world view. Page's number one concern is simple: always shoot for the moon, both with innovation and in business, because each should feed the other. Page mentioned inventors like Tesla who never saw the success they deserved because they didn't focus on making inventions businesses. Once that balance is struck, it's a matter of keeping up the rate of innovation. 

Page is critical of the status quo in business, saying:
How exciting is it to come to work if the best you can do is trounce some other company that does roughly the same thing? That’s why most companies decay slowly over time... incremental improvement is guaranteed to be obsolete over time.

His aim isn't to improve by 10%, but by a factor of 10, which brings a new meaning to Google X, and to not be scared to push into new products. He even took a shot at Apple on this front, saying, "Apple only does a very, very small number of things, and that’s working pretty well for them. But I find that unsatisfying."

This view is what helped push Google into various markets like webmail, social, and mobile. Although, while Page repeated his worry about moving into webmail, the decision to purchase Android was a relatively easy one apparently. Mostly, because Page was very unimpressed with the market as it stood, which at the time was dominated by BlackBerry, Symbian, and Windows Mobile:
At the time we bought Android, it was pretty obvious that the existing mobile operating systems were terrible. You couldn’t write software for them. Compare that to what we have now. So I don’t think that betting on Android was that big a stretch. You just had to have the conviction to make a long-term investment and to believe that things could be a lot better.

But, Page's push for Android to be better doesn't stop with software. He reiterated that Motorola is going to be run separately, but promised innovation from that company. The pace of that innovation did somewhat show that Page is disconnected from that division, because he referenced that in "the next 5 to 10 years" we will see a change away from smartphones that use easily broken glass. Motorola CEO Dennis Woodside should probably have told Larry that the flexible display change will be starting this year. 

Page is obviously very optimistic about the work being done at Google, and he even saw a bright side to the Apple Maps fiasco, and Google Maps being removed from iOS. In his estimation, be fallout from the Apple Maps mess has helped "people realize that we’ve put a lot of effort and investment into" maps. And, Page doesn't want to hear from people who think the company shouldn't have built a Google Maps app for iOS, saying:
you may have the greatest maps in the world, but if nobody uses them, it doesn’t matter. Our philosophy has always been to get our products out to as many people as possible.

Of course, Page didn't comment on the company's support for Windows products, but we'll assume that omission would be because Windows Phone won't add much to the "as many people as possible" side of things.  

Larry Page has a very unique skill for a CEO: he doesn't let pleasing stockholders scare him away from pushing the company forward, and pushing at a hard rate. Where Page says that "incremental improvement is guaranteed to be obsolete over time", most CEOs see incremental improvement as the easiest way to hold their position as long as possible. Given that Page was always assumed to eventually be the CEO of Google, maybe he doesn't have to worry about losing that position. But for now, it is suiting him extremely well, and we're excited to see what Google brings in the years to come. 

source: Wired

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posted on 17 Jan 2013, 19:35 15

3. techguy22 (Posts: 227; Member since: 09 Aug 2012)

you tell them.

posted on 17 Jan 2013, 19:52

7. -SEUL8TR- (Posts: 113; Member since: 13 Jan 2013)

Me to that was funny....

posted on 17 Jan 2013, 19:44 4

5. blingblingthing (Posts: 578; Member since: 23 Oct 2012)

The android operating system mirrors Google so well. Doesn't stay still or have one focus. Don't be surprised if in the near future Google has a chain of fast food restaurants.

posted on 17 Jan 2013, 20:13 10

12. cripton805 (Posts: 1485; Member since: 18 Mar 2012)

How is this a bad thing? Creativity leads to great ideas.

posted on 17 Jan 2013, 21:37 4

20. tedkord (Posts: 14192; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)

Exactly right. Android does so much more than competing mobile OSes. Great for power users.

posted on 17 Jan 2013, 22:55 2

28. blingblingthing (Posts: 578; Member since: 23 Oct 2012)

Wow. Guys misunderstanding my post. I point is Google is so diversified and so willing to add fields to their portfolio that I wouldn't be surprised at some point Google adds fast food to their offerings

Android as well just doesn't sit their and make the browser better, they are constantly adding features and tweaking the interface.

posted on 18 Jan 2013, 02:09 3

38. dorianb (Posts: 612; Member since: 24 Oct 2012)

Man I hope they can cross breed McDonalds fries & Chick-fil-a wedges. That would be awesome.

posted on 17 Jan 2013, 20:03 15

9. MeoCao (unregistered)

Larry Page and Sergey Brin are way more talanted and important than Jobs for tech development.

Page and Brin make Google a creative COMPANY where every1 can express him /herself and the result is clear.

Job was the only creative man at Apple, and he managed by fear.

Apple uses fear to compete as well: thermonuclear, lawsuits... and it works sometimes: HTC for example. But tyranny can never win, creativity will triumph always in technology.

posted on 17 Jan 2013, 20:09 7

10. -SEUL8TR- (Posts: 113; Member since: 13 Jan 2013)

Creative, my foot, more like stealing and modify what already exists!

posted on 17 Jan 2013, 20:15 6

13. cripton805 (Posts: 1485; Member since: 18 Mar 2012)

Oh please. This would be like saying Apple copied the creator of the original cell phone by copying the actual Cell Phone part of it.

posted on 17 Jan 2013, 21:34 2

18. rcwfox2002 (Posts: 41; Member since: 20 Dec 2011)

Palm, Blackberry and even windows was out before Iphone. He took the PDA idea and improved it. So SEUL8TR is correct in saying all he did was modify the the existing technology (PDA),

posted on 19 Jan 2013, 04:10

64. oNutz (Posts: 2; Member since: 19 Jan 2013)

The difference is that Jobs was not A BOARD-MEMBER of Palm, Blackberry or Windows like Eric Schmidt was at Apple. C'mon, be honest if you had a company and your "trusted" BOARD-MEMBER hi-jacked all the stuff that "your" company had been working on....are you telling me that would not be a problem for you??

posted on 19 Jan 2013, 11:54

66. Sniggly (Posts: 7305; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)

What specifically did Schmidt hijack? There is nothing about Android 1.0, other than the dominance of the touchscreen, that was unique to iOS at the time.

posted on 17 Jan 2013, 20:20 11

14. MeoCao (unregistered)

Are you talking about Jobs? It's partly true, but Jobs was creative in his own way: he could use available technologies to make compelling products like no1 else. He was like a good cook, with available materials he could make great meals.

The bad side of Jobs is he tried to patent the materials and prevent other from using the materials to make meals themselves.

posted on 17 Jan 2013, 21:20

17. XPERIA-KNIGHT (unregistered)

htc is NOT an example of apples victory or bullying in lawsuits........they are an example of "pay your dues" to HELP YOURSELF get free of what could hold you down in the future!

in other words........be a man and pay what you owe so you wont have to worry about anyone later on....

#lesson in maturity

posted on 17 Jan 2013, 21:40 4

21. tedkord (Posts: 14192; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)

Bull. No one should owe Apple for anything that existed before they released it. And much of what Apple are suing for has massive prior art and obviousness.

When Apple made the claim in court that, "a tap is just a zero length swipe..., " it became clear to the world what their ethics really are.

posted on 17 Jan 2013, 22:07

26. XPERIA-KNIGHT (unregistered)

be that as it may, but it doesnt change the fact that HTC is free of worry now....and also dont worry, apple is already recieving their due for the corrupt business decisions that they made.......HTC is not the one that has to worry......and thats all that matters

posted on 18 Jan 2013, 00:32 1

34. tedkord (Posts: 14192; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)

Yes, they are free of worry. They paid their protection money to the Mafia, and now something bad might not happen to their nice business.

posted on 17 Jan 2013, 22:57

29. jsdechavez (Posts: 758; Member since: 20 Jul 2012)

Jobs was a legend already even before the smartphones. Maybe the other guys had it easy then.

posted on 17 Jan 2013, 23:20 1

30. MeoCao (unregistered)

Apple's impact can be felt only in US and few more affluent countries, and that influence is not always positive.

Google reaches out to people all over the world and it changes everything by spreading the knowledge, makes it freely available to every1.

Apple has more money, yes. But its stature is pale before Google.

posted on 18 Jan 2013, 03:21

41. 1v1addict (Posts: 17; Member since: 16 Jan 2013)

@MeCao "Steve Jobs managed by fear"

What kind of fear ?
He is just a person with "in your face style"
When he don't like what you make, he just said it

posted on 18 Jan 2013, 04:30 1

42. MeoCao (unregistered)

This is well known fact, Jobs could call somebody assh*le in front of hundreds people b-c he did not like the result, may be you like his style, but it was intimidation no less.

Still not convinced? Have a look at this

posted on 17 Jan 2013, 20:09 2

11. Cynipap999 (banned) (Posts: 138; Member since: 15 Nov 2012)

Larry Page is correct in saying, "Apple only does a very, very small number of things, and that’s working pretty well for them" but he neglected to add that, excrementally, Apple does more than any other company in the history of mankind and should be meritoriously acknowledged for it.

posted on 17 Jan 2013, 21:36 7

19. disneydad (Posts: 114; Member since: 26 Mar 2012)

I could smell the foul stench of your ignorance and fanboyism when I came aboard this post...
Honestly, you can't possibly believe that last sentence you typed Cynipap. GE, DuPont, Kodak, Sony, and Xerox have done more for electronics than Apple can shake a retread iPhone at. "In the history of mankind"?? What are you, 12? Is your memory limited to your visit to the Genius Bar and the time you made a mixtape of Apple commercials for your road trip?

posted on 17 Jan 2013, 21:46

23. technut (Posts: 74; Member since: 03 Aug 2012)

LMFAO! You speak the truth.

posted on 17 Jan 2013, 22:01

25. Cynipap999 (banned) (Posts: 138; Member since: 15 Nov 2012)

Learn to read, dear boy.
Allow me to introduce you to R.I.F. : disneydad, meet R.I.F.

posted on 18 Jan 2013, 02:06 5

37. VZWuser76 (Posts: 4786; Member since: 04 Mar 2010)

So Apple has done more than anyone in the history of mankind? I'm sorry but, no. Let's take it back a step further. Franklin, Edison, Tesla, etc have done more than Apple. They did all the hard work without any technology to help them. Without their work there would be no Apple. I'm not saying Apple doesn't do anything, but they are not the greatest inventors in history. The GUI that Apple started with wasn't even their own invention, it was Xerox's. What Apple is great at is taking existing ideas and tech and putting it in a neat little package. But for you to call out Google for copying and sweep Apple's misdeeds under the rug is the epitome of irony.

posted on 18 Jan 2013, 13:28 1

55. disneydad (Posts: 114; Member since: 26 Mar 2012)

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.....I read it as incrementally. LOL
That completely changes the comment. I don't know if that's the proper usage of excrementally but now the comment makes more sense.

posted on 18 Jan 2013, 23:10

57. jroc74 (Posts: 6019; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)


This is one of the few times I had to look up words to know what they meant in the context of the post...LOL!!

posted on 18 Jan 2013, 11:03

54. Althorius (Posts: 23; Member since: 25 Sep 2012)

Don't feed the trolls.

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