Schmidts Exit from CEO Role Leaves Uncertainty
Enderle even criticized Android, the mobile operating system launched under the aegis of Schmidt, because it appears to violate patents now owned by Oracle. "They should have either bought Sun or Novell to assure they could protect what they created. Now they will either have to pay massive amounts of money to protect Android or exit the market due to litigation pressures," Enderle added.Gartner analyst Whit Andrews took the opposite views, arguing that no one has call to point the finger at Schmidt and say he messed up. Instead, he described Page's return to the CEO role after a decade of hanging back as Google's president of products as a new chapter. In this chapter, Google must defend its search hegemony and develop its "extraordinary business" across so many places online. "That does not change the fact that the Facebook era is now upon us," Andrews said. "The Google era has passed. Google as the dominant empire of the Web is not now the case. It's the Facebook moment. They now face the reality of co-existing with Facebook instead of trying to defeat it. Part of its advertising business is focused on doing just that." While Andrews believes Google is well-positioned on the consumer-facing Web service and ad front, he's less sure about Google's prospects in the enterprise. As an enterprise-minded CEO, Schmidt is well-groomed for pushing Google Apps. But Page cut his teeth on the consumer cloth, which raises questions about the future of the company effectively marketing Google Apps for businesses. Google's slip here would make Microsoft, with its enterprise clout, the prohibitive favorite for cloud collaboration software. This will be an interesting year to watch the evolution of Google as it seeks to challenge Apple, Facebook and Microsoft, among others.
With Google being challenged in court by Oracle, in the mobile market by Apple and in social advertising by Facebook, Page has his work cut out for him.