Google’s fourth quarter (Q4) earnings increased 29 percent even as the company gets set to bid adieu to present CEO Eric Schmidt, who will be replaced by Larry Page, the co-founder of Google, as the Chief Executive.
The American multinational public corporation, Google, who has invested in Internet search, cloud computing and advertising technologies will see their new CEO on April 4. The new move has been taken to cope up against the new threats it is facing as the world’s most prominent Internet company.
As former member of the Board of Director of Apple Inc, Eric Schmidt’s role doesn’t end here with Google. He will continue to divulge on deals, partnerships, customers and broader business relationships as executive chairman and act as an advisor to Larry Page and co-founder Sergey Brin.
Moreover, Google in an SEC filing has mentioned that Schmidt filed to sell 534,000 Class A, publicly traded shares. The sale is expected to make Schmidt richer and he will still hold 8.7 million shares which is 2.7 percent of Google’s stock.
Earlier, Schmidt held many technical positions with IT companies which included Bell Labs, Zilog and Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center (PARC). He was with Sun Microsystems in 1983 leading Java development efforts and became the Chief Technology Officer and in 1997 he was appointed as CEO of Novell. Later in March 2001, he was included in Google’s board of directors as chairman and became the CEO in August 2001.
Few months ago, there were reports about some disputes between Eric Schmidt, Larry Page and Sergey Brin over the China censorship of search results but a press release showed otherwise where Page referring to Schmidt said “Eric has clearly done an outstanding job leading Google for the last decade. The results speak for themselves. There is no other CEO in the world who could have kept such headstrong founders so deeply involved and still run the business so brilliantly. Eric is a tremendous leader and I have learned innumerable lessons from him. His advice and efforts will be invaluable to me as I start in this new role. Google still has such incredible opportunity–we are only at the beginning and I can’t wait to get started.”
Even Sergey Brin was in all praise for Schmidt but also mentioned about his personal passions and new products saying, “I’d like to mention that I’ve had a great time working with Larry now for 15 years and Eric for a decade. Both of them have inspired and moved me. I would like to work more on my personal passions. There will be several new products I’m working on. I’ve been accused of vaporware recently, so I won’t talk about them yet. But soon.”
There are many analysts who believe that Larry Pages lacks experience in the top CEO level. Also he was previously into inventing things. Creating and marketing products to consumers is a different thing altogether. Page who is yet to finish his Ph.D. in computer science from Stanford University, transforming himself from computer scientist-cum-entrepreneur to a CEO role is a big shift.
But Schmidt believes Page is ready to take over by saying, “We’ve been talking about how best to simplify our management structure and speed up decision making for a long time. By clarifying our individual roles we’ll create clearer responsibility and accountability at the top of the company. In my clear opinion, Larry is ready to lead and I’m excited about working with both him and Sergey for a long time to come.” Schmidt on his Twitter page also emphasized that “Day-to-day adult supervision no longer needed!” indicating that Page is ready to take the helm.
Schmidt is confident about Page who stressed that for last decade he, Sergey and Schmidt had made most of the important decisions together and indicated that he will still be around saying, “The only difference is that Larry will get the credit and attention.”
The main challenge that is going to grip Page is going to be the confrontation with Facebook, the world’s largest networking site which is closing in on 1 billion users. And another competitor would be Apple in terms of mobile advertising. Recently, Facebook was in the news about the challenge it posses over Google in terms of advertising.
Previously, Google faced challenges from Yahoo! Inc and Microsoft Corp, but those threats were managed well and Google took over the top position. But Google now has to fight out with Facebook for a Web audience which is a different field other than being search oriented.
Lately, Google’s focus is more towards its Android operating system, a field where Google has to take on Apple when it comes to sale of smartphones and tablets. Not long ago Schmidt was elected to Apple’s board of directors in 2006 but had to resign in 2009 due to conflict of interests and the growing competition between Google and Apple. Also, Google’s Android leads Apple’s iPhone in US in terms of subscribers in Novemeber where Apple was 25 percent compared to Google’s 26 percent. The list leader was Research In Motion (RIM), the BlackBerry maker, with 33.5 percent.