Recent techno-experts and arm chair analysts in the news have been going after one Google founder – Larry Page – who just took over Google’s CEO chair. Eric Schmidt will be leaving the building. So many of these ‘experts’ and ‘analysts’ comment on why this is a bad move. No one mentions why this may be a good move on Google’s part. No one mentions, at a non-technical level the several recent examples of Schmidt putting his foot in Google’s mouth, or the fact that Page was responsible for so much innovation and growth before Schmidt arrived.
They only say consistently that Google is hurting themselves by doing this. “Page is too much of an engineer at heart” and “Page does not involve himself in media”. They also comment on how this is a time for Microsoft to really take advantage of this ‘weak management decision’.
This media /analyst Borg or Hive mentality in the technology press – where one opinion is common and no one diverges from that opinion – is seen again and again. No one wants to THINK these things through before opening their mouth – or bring up talking points and a basis for their strong analysis. I decided to write a response to one article in CIO magazine called “Google CEO Shakeup: Advantage Microsoft in Apps War” which is just unsubstantiated and speculative opinion rather than any kind of analysis based on facts. It has no basis in historical trending on either Google’s side nor Microsoft’s side. The only reasoning in this article is what I often see – weak statements of opinion without citing anything in favor of Google. I wrote the following in comment to the author Shane O’Neill:
I do not work for Google and I install, secure and operate servers of all kinds in many different sectors. I speak from direct experience.
While your points are interesting, I believe you have left out stark examples of history – from the entire tech industry, to Microsoft and back to Google.
While you bring a nice light on Microsoft and their future, they are completely different today, than in the days when Gates monitored and operated daily activities. He is no longer there coding and helping coders, making business decisions that grew the company, using his vision and acumen. They have a very difficult road ahead than what you illustrate, and don’t let the size and weight of that company fool you. They are powerful and diversified, but they are dripping with huge revenue failures, only chasing other technologies. Almost as if to prove to the stock market they are keeping up, only to cancel those products down the road. Recall the Zune was just canceled, the XBox (with an admitted failure rate of over 50%) was over $4billion in development, and never made a penny of profit for years – maybe until just last year. Server products that sometimes compete with one another in features. The book scanning project was completely shut down in one day without notice – who knows how much money and time was spent on that project. Sharepoint is very interesting on paper, but seem to lack consistency from version to version, was released to market in an RC state and this kind of thing grows into an IT problem no one wants to put time into, again and again. Microsoft CRM releases and implementation are as complex as CRM’s of the ’90’s, but today’s salesforce is very well developed for this, as is spiceworks, zendesk and others. MS accounting packages like Money and their enterprise Accounting package constantly change from version to version, they are not UI consistent and often not backward compatible – which means upgrading an entire server just to make the new package work.
Microsoft, while investing great energies into virtualization and the cloud into server products, Windows 8, Server 2011 and others, are not trustworthy as a vendor to stay any single course. Their licensing fees to new server / enterprise products are difficult enough during first implementation, let alone regular upgrades. Microsoft’s roots are in self-standing software applications. The cloud will always be a challenge to them. It is still not clear to the enterprise if windows 7 can be relied upon for the long haul, like XP Pro, or if a new budget will be required every two years for desktop hardware, licensing and OS upgrades. This, more than anything, is what will alienate themselves from future corporate buy-in. (Also the extensive training required for each new platform and the mounting security threats to the desktop and server OS year over year.)
Google, on the other hand, is a company based on a cloud orientation. Page is putting the company back into what they know; search and technologies – as Jobs directed upon his return to Apple. Schmidt has had enough time to prove himself and seemed to be fighting Google’s success and direction, instead of helping it.
I believe that ingenuity and forward thinking by both founders of Google will drive the company to entirely new levels of innovation and success. EXPERTS or not, I believe all of the topic I raise here show that Microsoft is no better off, and Google is aligned to be much better off with Page in the drivers seat.