Google CEO Larry Page has been in his position for a year now. As the head of the company hes founded, hes watched the firm generate billions of dollars in revenue, build up its cash reserves and put intense competitive pressure on countless competitors. From a financial perspective, its hard to see any way that Page and his management team have done a less-than-stellar job or how they might do better. Certainly most investors might agree that the chances are that Google will only continue to grow and prosper in future years.
But as with any other executive, Page needs to look back at his last year and evaluate how he handled certain issues. More importantly, he should analyze the market dynamics that prompted him to make certain decisions throughout the year. Simply put, Larry Page can learn a bunch of lessons from his first year as Google CEO, and if he commits them to memory, hell be far more likely to succeed.
Read on to find out what sort of lessons Larry Page should consider from his first year as Google CEO.
1. Patents are a continuing concern
If nothing else,Page should have learned in the past year that patents are a huge concern. From Apple to Oracle to Motorola, just about every company is engaged in a patent lawsuit somewhere around the world. Page and his company have to be well-prepared to fight legal attacksespecially the one from Oracleand keep building up Googles patent portfolio to fend off new lawsuits.
2. Regulators arent friendly to Google
The European Unions Competition Commission is currently determining whether to launch a formal antitrust investigation into Googles search practices. The company has also been hit hard by regulators in the U.S. At this point, Page should have learned from his first year that regulators just arent friendly to the search giant.
3. Social networking is a tough nut to crack
During Pages first year as CEO, he watched his companys social network, Google+, grow. However, he also watched Facebook and Twitter continue to dominate the space. Unfortunately for Page, social networking is a tough nut to crack. At least right now, his company isnt anywhere close to posing a serious challenge to the social networking leaders.
4. Tablets arent smartphones
AlthoughAndroid has soared to a strong position in the smartphone market, the tablet space is a different story altogether. Apples iPad is the dominant force in the tablet market right now, and so far, none of Googles third-party vendors has been able to change that. Page should try to find a way to address his companys tablet issues this year.
Hardware Might Be a Smart Next Step for Google
5. Apple Remains Googles Biggest Mobile Market Threat
Although Google has been able to outpace Apple in the mobile space, thanks to Android, the iPhone maker is a massively successful company that could eventually dwarf every other IT corporation around the world. For Google, thats a major threatand something Page didnt adequately address in the last year.
6. Better China relations are important
Although Google was once a favorite of the Chinese government, it has fallen out of favor. Unfortunately for Google, that could be a major liability. The Chinese market is important for many global companies, and Google is no different. The time has come for Page to start playing nice with China or face serious issues with growth in the coming years.
7. Google can handle itself
One of the most important lessons Page learned last year is that he really isnt all that necessary. Eric Schmidt led a company that was practically capable of managing itself and generating serious amounts of cash without too much intervention from the chief executive. As CEO, he should avoid micromanaging the company and avoid keeping a heavy hand on the management controls.
8. Honing PR skills is a big advantage
When Larry Page and Sergey Brin first started Google, they knew nothing about handling media. They didnt improve all that much over the years. But in the last year, as chief executive, Page has been forced to learn public relations and how to convey a message to the public. Hes not a professional at it yet, but he has improved.
9. Hardware might be the next step
Looking back at the past year, Google has slowly but surely inched its way toward hardware. The companys pending Motorola Mobility acquisition might be the best proof of that. Yet so far, Page has balked at bringing hardware to his companys operation. With Apple making so much money with hardware, though,it might be about time to add hardware to Googles product lineup.
10. Acquisitions are important
Finally, its important to point out that acquisitions have proved extremely important to Googles business. The pending Motorola Mobility acquisition will help improve the companys patents position, while smaller deals have improved the companys many other applications and services. Acquisitions will continue to be important for Googles future growth.