No one saw Larry Page, Google's CEO announcing that they were sort of, kind of, splitting Google into two companies, Alphabet and Google. Wall Street has seized on this as showing that Page and Alphabet president Sergey Brin are becoming the "Berkshire Hathaway of the Internet."
No, they're not.
I see Page and Brin becoming Nikola Tesla and Elon Musk.
Instead of working on maximizing shareholder value on Google's bread and butter of search and advertising, they'll be pursuing blue-sky ideas that will change the world. In short, they're going to be having fun.
Yes, between the two of them they created the canonical Internet company and became billionaires. But, from what I know of them, making big business bigger is not what they're about.
For that kind of tech leader, look to Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, or Jeff Bezos.
It's not like they're ignoring their responsibilities. They're putting Google into good hands. Sundar Pichai, came to Google in 2004 and immediately helped Google to become the search giant it is to day by overseeing the development of the Google Toolbar. More recently, Pichai's been Google's head of product. In this position, he was already in charge of Google's biggest front-facing products and services: Android, Search and Chrome.
Pichai will do a great job as CEO. For practical purposes, he's been acting as a CEO in training since October. As Page wrote, "It is clear to us and our board that it is time for Sundar to be CEO of Google. I feel very fortunate to have someone as talented as he is to run the slightly slimmed down Google and this frees up time for me to continue to scale our aspirations."
Wall Street agrees. Google stock has gone up not quite 4 percent since the news was announced.
And, what will Page and Brin be doing? Page wrote, "Sergey and I are seriously in the business of starting new things. Alphabet will also include our X lab, which incubates new efforts like Wing, our drone delivery effort."
Specifically, they'll be working on projects "far afield of our main Internet products contained in Alphabet instead. What do we mean by far afield? Good examples are our health efforts: Life Sciences (that works on the glucose-sensing contact lens), and Calico (focused on longevity)."
They'll also be working on the Internet of Things, the self-driving car, and Gigabit Internet to the home. You know, the fun stuff.
Instead of spending their days on the necessary, but now dull, stuff of making sure Google stays number one in search, Internet advertising, and mobile operating systems, they're trying to create technologies beyond our current grasp.
Page and Brin will be working on realizing science-fiction dreams. If, along the way, they make a few more billions, that will be great for them. But what they're really after is seeking a future where we're all immortals, where we're driven in our autonomous, always connected cars towards a real-world Tomorrowland.