back to article Larry Page sees 'tragic' future for Google

A story in which any number of Mae West quotations can be applied: "I speak two languages, Body and English Google." Or, "Anything worth doing is worth doing slowly." Or, "Between two evils, I always pick the one I never tried before." Larry Page is on a mission to keep Google in the fast lane when it comes to growing the …

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too big

Google's No.1 enemy is indeed google. They have grown so big, and are so diverse it wont be long until they are thrown before an EU council or similar and told to stop being quite so good at what they do. In the world, you just aren't allowed to be too good at what you do, its not fair.

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Anonymous Coward

RE: too big

They just need to split off all their parts into wholly owned subsidiaries of Google Inc, before they are forced to do it, then each part can be in control of itself and it's no longer a big company, might mean that if they don't communicate that the bits could compete with each other, but if they get it right they will be able to keep "Google" as the parent brand and all the sub-bits as franchises.

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Holmes

RE: too big

I think that you've missed the point of the legal finery around controlling monopolies.

The laws don't punish a company for being too good at what they do. They punish a company for taking a monopoly position and _abusing_ to prevent any else entering a market. Or use it to capture another market unfairly.

So, its quite the opposite.

Microsoft weren't convicted because they had the best browser and world governments didn't like that. They were convicted because they abused their windows monopoly to destroy netscape and establish a second monopoly in the browser market.

Similarly, if Google is taken to task by the worlds competition regulators, it will most likely be because they _abuse_ their monopoly position in search (which they have in some territories), or possibly online advertising (similar position) to attack the competition and exclude them from other markets.

They won't be accused of running a search engine that is too popular or having advertising algorithms that are too good.

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Even MS can be good.

Bundled IE did destroy Netscape. But was that a good thing?

Netscape did set out to be a paid app. It stayed in beta so long that few paid. IE set the bar that internet browsing is free (whahee) and its superior competition has had to equal that. The Netscape code survives and prospers.

IE has given us free Firefox, Chrome & Opera browsing. Well worth the pain of IE6.

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It just so happens that monopolies are a very bad thing, and this has been shown to be true time and again, and again, and again. Don't blame the EU, blame reality.

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Trollface

The EU itself is a monopoly in many areas: the printing of currency, policing, etc.

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Pint

The EU has none of those powers

Policing, currency and the like are controlled by governments. You could call them monopolies if you really want, like the 'monopoly on the use of force' that is reserved by the state, the norm in most countries.

Its not a valid comparison though, really is it?

Policing/ fire departments as a market? That was tried once, it led to competing fire brigades cutting hoses and burning down buildings.

So monopoly == bad is a bit simplistic. However the areas that work better as a monopoly are few and far between, and should be well regulated and understood.

I don't know of any commercial monopolies that are beneficial. Anyone?

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"there are basically no companies that have good slow decisions"

How long did it take Apple to decide to get into the phone market - or the tablet market, for that point.

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Anonymous Coward

Also, how many half-arsed ideas has Google shoved out the door and ultimately canned?

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Anonymous Coward

@Chris3

You seem to have mixed up decision making and product development.

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@AC

Trying out loads of ideas and killing them off early before they become a drag is actually very very good business sense.

When you innovate and don't copy then inevitably you'll make stuff that won't fly. Just look at GE (which, coincidentally is what I think Google should become), they experiment and develop many concepts that never make it to production.

The difference is that with GE you're not likely to be presented or involved in it whereas with Google you're served it even when it's half baked because you are the end-user.

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Anonymous Coward

uh

You've not really explained why trying out loads of ideas and killing them off early before they become a drag is actually very very good business sense. The alternative viewpoint is that, err, no, it isn't.

Eg, HP's touchpad.

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There's not much i can divulge on the subject but if you look at composite airplane bodies and in GE's case next gen turbine blades, there were quite a few unsung and failed variants before we arrived at today's ultra complex and ultra light blades.

Then look at medicine. How many drugs don't get past clinicals for each one that does?

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Devil

The dream of reason...

... produces monsters. AKA the law of unintended consequences.

Accidents of history and the vagaries of fortune do it too. A runaway success like Google, and like Microsoft before it, creates a virtual monopoly/monoculture that ultimately isn't good for anyone without a vested interest.

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Devil

Celebrity CEOs have always been wankers, but it is certainly tempting to rank the CEOs of internet companies as the biggest, most over-hyped wankers yet.

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Anonymous Coward

Yes Zuckerberg, he's talking about you.

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Anonymous Coward

Too big to fail?

Google, once the wunderkind paraded by savvy netizens is now parodied as being the next microsoft. The adage they coined 'do no evil', whilst rather coy and idealistic when it was penned, comes back to haunt them.

As a web dev, if I examine just how much Google has invaded my routine, it's really rather scary.

I'll admit that much of that has to do with the (plegh) SEO bods & the (ick) marketing droids I have to pander to whilst crafting my masterpieces.

But there it is - I search using Google, I've got a gmail account that's now 7 years old, I tied myself to them.

They are too big to fail. Or are they?

It depends. A slow decline perhaps, but an outright collapse? unlikely.

We wait, as ever, for the next new seismic shift, the next young upstart to shake the status quo.

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rvt

Fell asleep....

Sorry Larry,

i really fell asleep and I think most of the people in the audience did to...

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Headmaster

I speak two languages ?

I speak two languages, Body and English ?

MORE LIKE,

BULLSHITE AND CRAP,

WHEN TRANSLATED

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re: Larry Page sees 'tragic' future for Google

Steve: So when I talk about Google, which was generious enough to cooperate with me when I wrote a book, I get asked two questions, John Batell sort of covered the first one, the second one that people ask me is, what is the biggest threat to Googles continuing sucess. So to help me give from the horses mouth, how shall I answer that?

Page: Google. (laughter)

Schmidt: The problems in a company of Googles scale are always internal, at some level.

Page: Yea, that's why I said Google. (laughter)

Schmidt: Yea, Larry

Steve: Actually I've been saying something like that ..

Schmidt: Yea, Larry actually .. You (Page) didn't talk about your management memo. But one of the things he did after becoming CEO in correcting all the messes I had handed him. He wrote a very defined memo about innovation, how decisions are made and so forth and it's, large companies are their own worst enemy. Because internally they know what they should do, but they don't do it.

And if I may say my business partner and close friend Larry what does he do all day? He is doing that, he is in there forcing the discussion, forcing the choice and forcing the resolution, with his unique talents. That will ultimatly determine how hugely sucessfull Google is - or not.

Page: Yea, one of the interesting things that we’ve noticed is that companies correlate on decision making and speed. Of decision making, there are basically no companies that have good slow decisions. There are only companies that have good fast decisions. I think that’s also a natural thing as companies get bigger – they tend to slow down decision-making, and that’s pretty tragic.

Question: The acquisition of Motorola has given you access to an important trove. But Motorola are also the largest manufacturer of set-top boxes in America, which obviously gives you an interesting spring board into digital television. Was that part of the strategy.

Page: It was certanly something we considered, yes (laughter).

Schmidt: We have to be carefull because under the rules, we can't really talk about Motorola, it's a seperate company today. But I will tell that when we both looked at Motorola , the quality of their current products, but more importantly what's comming in the future is amazing stuff. So hold that question until we see this stuff comming out.

Question: Looking back at these thirteen years, which ones do you consider your biggest mistakes?

Schmidt: Year seven .. prime numbers (laughs)

Page: I remember we initially did not get a Yahoo deal for ads, way back when. We actually were kind of debating what to do and we didn't have that much money and were gonna have to spend more money than we had. So actually I think we made a big mistake in not having enough capitol available in order to do that. And that caused a whole series of other things.

Schmidt: I think when companies grow as fast as Google does. It's hard to sort look back and say what was the best year or the worst year- they're all good. And what ever mistakes you made, you made because you were winning somewhere else. So you can't really look at it in isolation and I can think about, in my contribution to the company. I would say worked hard and I should have done ten things. What was I doing, oh I was busy working on these other things which are really well. So I think you have to judge in total and I would argue that the total story is quite a good one about Google as I think we're all right here.

Page: The most frustrating thing about business is that you don't get to run them the other way. There's no control - there's no control experiments you can run.

Schmidt: And by the way, you're the only person in the world Larry who would say that. (laughter)

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WTF?

What is Schmidt still doing at Google at all?

I mean, would you half-flush a toilet?

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