Jobs, Schmidt Role Changes Leave Questions at Apple, Google

 
 
By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2011-09-06 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Google's Eric Schmidt and Apple's Steve Jobs both stepped down in 2011. Which company is better positioned? On paper it's Apple, but this isn't a paper game. Both companies are vulnerable.

 

Only in Silicon Valley, which teems with technology talent, can the loss of CEOs from the region's two most powerful companies be weathered so well.

That is exactly what happened this year with the shuttling of former Google CEO Eric Schmidt to the executive chairman role in April and the shocking, yet ultimately expected resignation of former Apple CEO Steve Jobs from the company he helped build and restore to unimaginable glory.

The world knew Schmidt was transitioning in January, when the company  said on its fourth quarter earnings call that Larry Page would take over as CEO.

Schmidt, who accepted the torch from Page back in 2002, did preside over major acquisitions such as YouTube and DoubleClick. He helped propel Google to $30 billion a year in revenues. He also politicked enough to keep Capitol Hill off of Google's broad shoulders.

Is there a correlation between Page's turn at the helm and the antitrust Federal Trade Commission's antitrust investigation into the company? Who can say for sure?

Page tore into the role in early April, streamlining management and annoying financial analysts by saying little on the company's first quarter earnings call April 14.

Page redeemed himself with Wall Street by chatting more on the Q2 call in July. He also scored points by cutting several Google products that were languishing, including Google Health, PowerMeter, Google Labs, Slide and several more Web services. That's money and sources spent elsewhere to keep the Google money machine running; the company has nearly $40 billion in the bank.

But Page's return to power may be more notable for what Google did to fortify its position. Google launched its Google+ social network and made a bold bid for Android OEM Motorola Mobility (NYSE:MMI). There is no guarantee federal regulators will bless that bid, but Page gets points for moving fast and aggressively to shore up Android's patent portfolio poorness.

Perhaps in later years, Wired's Steven Levy, The New Yorker's Ken Auletta, or some other author of a renowned book on Google will pen a follow-up divulging the ins and outs of Schmidt's migration to executive chairman.

For now, pundits are left to surmise, based on Schmidt's own comments and Google's delivery of Google+, that Schmidt was shunted aside for failing to move the needle for Google in social versus Facebook.   



 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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