Has Larry Page doomed Google?

Has Larry Page doomed Google?

Summary: Silicon Valley's most successful 1-trick pony, Internet advertising firm Google, has a new CEO. If his track record is any guide, Larry Page has just doomed Google to a slow and painful death.


Silicon Valley's most successful 1-trick pony, Internet advertising firm Google, has a new CEO. If his track record is any guide, Larry Page has just doomed Google to a slow and painful death.

What about Larry? Let's stipulate that Larry Page is very smart, rich and means well. He has interesting ideas and has been taking a post-graduate seminar in managing a multi-billion dollar business for the last 10 years.

So he's qualified to be CEO, right?

Unflattering portrait Maybe not. The Wall Street Journal article Chief Seeks More Agile Google paints an unflattering portrait of Mr. Page's executive chops:

Poor communication skills:

The 38-year-old Google co-founder didn't immediately address employees in an all-hands note or meeting. . . .

Weak on strategy:

He didn't discuss his strategy for running the company on Thursday's conference call. . . .

Finds corporate details boring:

Former Google employees and executives who worked with Mr. Page or attended executive management meetings said he sometimes appeared uninterested in the sessions. . . . He also showed little care for matters like budgets and policy.

Uninformed on production software practices:

Mr. Page's desire to move quickly on ambitious ideas was stifled by company bureaucracy. . . . He often told mid-level engineers to instantly roll out changes to the search engine, but the process would often take several weeks as those engineers worked with their immediate supervisors. . . .

Inability to execute:

Another pet project in recent years was a service called "G Drive" . . . . But "it wasn't prioritized as he would have liked," said a person familiar with the matter.

Gdrive is a interesting for a couple of reasons. Googlers had the idea some 5 years ago and it still isn't running. And Microsoft, hardly the fleetest player, is now offering 25 GB of free storage on Windows Live SkyDrive.

The Storage Bits take Sure, Microsoft is taking a bath on SkyDrive. Call it "market research."

But for a Google co-founder, executive and major stockholder to fail at getting Gdrive "prioritized" suggests that Mr. Page has some major leadership deficits. This is the new CEO?

But wait, you ask: didn't Steve Jobs suffer from some of these problems too? Yes, he did and does. But after being dumped from Apple he started a new company where he learned hard lessons from failure. So when his 2nd act started he had many new strategies.

Mr. Page hasn't had that bracing experience of failure. Unless you count Gdrive.

The good news is that it takes years for multi-billion companies to fail - well, except Enron and Wang Labs - so Mr. Page can indulge his CEO fantasy for a few years without much risk of becoming a millionaire again.

But for stockholders who hope to see Google profitably build new businesses and further grow its substantial market cap, Mr. Page's new job is unwelcome news. I like Google and hope to see them succeed, but I'm not hopeful.

Comments welcome, of course. Honestly, I hope I'm wrong about Mr. Page.

Update: In reaction to comments like mine, Schmidt offered a weak defense:

A week after announcing a management shakeup at Google, outgoing Chief Executive Eric Schmidt defended the credentials of company co-founder Larry Page. . . .

“When people criticize Larry as the new CEO, that’s grossly unfair to Larry,” he said on Thursday at a small press conference in Davos, Switzerland, at the World Economic Forum. “He has been with me at every business decision for 10 years.”

From Schmidt defends incoming CEO Page in the Wall Street Journal. End update.

Topics: Google, CXO

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  • RE: Has Larry Page doomed Google?

    zdnet what happened to you?

    I mean, what kind of article is this? I don't even know where to start.
    • RE: Has Larry Page doomed Google?

      Exactly. Larry is bad because he's not your typical CEO? Well, Google isn't your typical company, and thank goodness for that.
      • RE: Has Larry Page doomed Google?

        @AllureFX Agree - all of the negatives aimed at Larry in this little pout session are Google negatives relating to the entrenched inefficiencies that no doubt got him hired to begin with: To put any credence in anonymous Operational level managers over degrees of interest/disinterest is ridiculous.
      • RE: Has Larry Page doomed Google?

        Funny you'd say that since I wouldn't necessarily call Mark Zuckerberg your typical CEO ether. Yet Facebook is still booming.
    • RE: Has Larry Page doomed Google?

      @tatiGmail This is exactly the kind of "article" I'd write when I am bored or generally not bothered. Half of it's word-length consists of direct quotes!
      Shyam Madhavan Sarada
    • RE: Has Larry Page doomed Google?

      @tatiGmail Start by not replying if you have nothing to say.
  • RE: Has Larry Page doomed Google?

    Loverock Davidson
    • RE: Has Larry Page doomed Google?

      @Loverock Davidson

      And how is Bing doing ?

      "Microsoft?s Online Services Division, think Bing, saw a revenue pop, but just lost more money than a year ago. Microsoft?s Internet unit reported a loss of $543 million on revenue of $691 million, up from $579 million a year ago."

      Alan Smithie
      • Bing is actually doing great and steadily taking share if you care to look.

        and thats without even counting the yahoo share they own now. So it makes sense that they're investing heavily. And they are definately out inovating google in both search and maps, both of which now seem to be completely in "copy Bing" mode. Of course the unthoughtful will continue to ignore all this and the fact that the online services is not just Bing but also msn and other things....
        Johnny Vegas
      • RE: Has Larry Page doomed Google?

        @Johnny Vegas : No Johnny... it isn't. It grabbed media attention when it's stats bumped after the yahoo deal, but real visits to the site have dropped steadily since launch. Microsoft's Silicon Valley campus has seen it's share of "successes" but the meddling done by the Redmond HQ has all but disparage what was left of the new ideas, including Danger, Live Labs, Docs.com, etc.
      • RE: Has Larry Page doomed Google?

        @Johnny Vegas...

        Keep smoking that bing pipe.

        Bing maps are highly inaccurate, out dated by a couple of decades for some areas, Google's map tiles are up to date within the last 5 years, I know this as I live in one such are where Bing maps are inferior. I notified Bing about their errors on their map tiles over 3 months ago, and I just checked, still not fixed.

        Bing search results are lacking. Haven't done a recent test in about six months. I would rather have search overload with relevant search results, than the hand full of unrelated crap bing provides.
      • RE: Has Larry Page doomed Google?

        @Alan Smithie

        What does Microsoft have to do with the article?
        Hallowed are the Ori
      • RE: Has Larry Page doomed Google?

        @Johnny Vegas: You must be using a different Bing than I have. The quality of the satilite images on Google maps, for instance, is head and shoulders above Bing Maps.

        I wonder if you can name something in Bing that Google copied? (really, I'm interested). There's certainly been instances where it appears there has been copying going the other way (I'm sure you saw the following: http://searchengineland.com/google-bing-is-cheating-copying-our-search-results-62914).
    • RE: Has Larry Page doomed Google?

      @Loverock Davidson
      Still don't understand your grudge ageist Google. Apple maybe but Google?
  • RE: Has Larry Page doomed Google?

    There's essentially no change at Google. The same people are still there.
  • Google IS 1-Trick Pony

    Yes, it's a very shiny MULTI BILLION dollar 1-trick pony but 97% of revenue from search-ad revenue is a one-trick pony. So, if you're saying 'no change," at Google, that's not necessarily a good thing ... the problem is that right now, Google is like like MS 15 years old - flush with cash, they start looking around and copying people. Sony has a game machine, we want the living room too. After spending $45 billion, they have maade about $25 billion of it back on Xbox ... as long as the shareholders don't mind ... Google has defeated MS & Yahoo in search? They couldn't even defeat MySpace let alone faceBook in social - how many social launches? They were ready to spend $6 BILLION on Groupon because they couldn't figure out how to beat them? Android? Looks like it's borrowed from Java/Oracle and makes Google $5 a phone sold - Apple makes about $700 per - humm, nice business ... Google Doc - pretty much like a cripple MS Office online? Couldn't defeat YouTube so they bought them. Heard Apple was going to buy AdMob - another $750 million - while Apple spend about 1/5th to buy and develop the leading edge mobile ads. Google has a million ideas but a genuine commitment to none and no business plan for ANY OF THEM. What's the ONLY real money making venture - yea, back to DAY ONE - since then? 1-Trick pony. So, while swapping out Eric the iphone messenger from Apple board meetings help? Hard to say since the three running Google have not produced another billion dollar revenue line since 1999? While apple has created 5 NEW MULTI-BILLION dollar launches in the same time period?
  • Has Technology Histroy Lesson . I seen happen over the years

    I am small business owner/founder just small guy in Houston. I guess my age when I started this accident business ..well I loved histroy in school so I applied to Technology companies . to name examples I am in Texas I am going to sell Micheal Dell is one that created his business from UT -Austin Doom room he did great Job building connections and contracts with government and company and invidivials -I watched as Dell has beat HP as top spot years ago ..his Vice President well second command at Dell had trust in him to sell Dell fall back behind HP again and lost footing that is why Dell is 2nd now or 3rd . and my 2nd example is Yahoo! Jerry Fayo was CEO .. he bought many social companies to setup game againist Facebook and myspace but now Carlor Barlz been sold Yahoo Search to Microsoft another properties .Actually seeing this trend about former CEO's turned billionaires.

    I am small business owner I had my share of bad decisions from X girlfriend to economy ..getting out of debt is my goal and improved credit score .
    I love my work and businsess . started as just see I could fix computers and then offered money and turned into a business but I filed my dba in high school one day I took a chance and life hit me hard but It is looking up I am only 29 and started at 19 in 2000.

    But History teaches me to learn from my mistakes and fix my or don't do . once I am not CEO of my company and it has legs I probability wouldn't take back over it unless it down and out ..
    • RE: Has Larry Page doomed Google?

    • RE: Has Larry Page doomed Google?


      Seriously? Try using a spell check and grammar check if you wish for people to even consider your opinion.
  • I don't know . . .

    I've been hearing those same reports; that Page is essentially the worst form of geek who has zero managing ability. I guess the best scenario is that he will keep Eric Schmidt as an advisor.
    Gerald Shields