Eric Schmidt steps down as Google CEO

Are we witnessing the great CEO exodus of January 2011? First Dirk Meyer gets fired from his post as AMD chief, then Steve Jobs goes on medical leave again, and now, the New York Times reports that Eric Schmidt is stepping down as Google’s CEO. What’s next, Steve Ballmer calling it quits?

According to the Times, Google co-founder Larry Page will regain hold of the company’s reins in April, while Schmidt will stay on as Executive Chairman. Page actually served as CEO before Google went public in 2001—a time when the company needed, in Schmidt’s words, "day-to-day adult supervision." Schmidt now feels Page is ready to lead, while Page himself told the Times he wants Google to be "a big company that has the nimbleness and soul and passion and speed of a start-up."

Nimbleness seems to be what the CEO switch is all about. The Times says analysts and insiders believe Google has turned into a "slower-moving bureaucracy" over recent years, so much so that some fear it may follow in Microsoft’s footsteps. At the same time, companies like Facebook and Twitter are stealing the limelight, being viewed as the new cool places to work in Silicon Valley. "Scores of engineers and a string of high-profile senior executives" have departed Google, as well, like former VP Sheryl Sandberg, who now serves as Facebook’s COO.

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    • indeego
    • 9 years ago

    I bet it was because Schmidt led the charge to buy Groupon, Page said, “no, let’s just copy them for a few million and a month of dev time.”

    Google copied Groupon (why in the world would anyone pay 6 billion for such a site?) and the rest is history.

    • tejas84
    • 9 years ago

    This is great news. I always like Page and Brin.

    However I always thought that Schmidt was a Class A Douchebag. Good riddance to him…

      • NeelyCam
      • 9 years ago

      Yes. Now Google can go back to not being evil.

    • dpaus
    • 9 years ago

    [i<]"What's next, Steve Ballmer calling it quits?"[/i<] You guys are such teases..

      • ludi
      • 9 years ago

      The Steve Ballmer never quits. He reloads a fresh Power Core and is good to go for another five years.

    • sweatshopking
    • 9 years ago

    psshh you guys are getting lazy! this was out yesterday! 😛

    • blastdoor
    • 9 years ago

    Hard to know what to make of this… the google founders seem like hard core CS/math guys. Will that influence where Page takes the company? Will he be less interested in platform building and more interested in Google’s search/information business? Personally, I hope that’s the case. I think the most valuable things from Google are their search and maps services. Gmail is also pretty useful. But the foray into apps and platforms seems like a distraction (and they’re not very good at it).

    So I hope this means Google will return to its roots…

      • kamikaziechameleon
      • 9 years ago

      I think googles presence in apps/OSesand freeware is huge, its the first time a major company has literally given such things away. MS and Apple charge for everything, google tends to charge companies that piggy back on their services rather than the consumers, it s novel buisness model. IE you don’t pay to use their search engine, but rather that cost is covered by the well noted adds. Maps is the same way.

      The services for free approach is quite revolutionary no one has ever done so much, charged so little and made more money than these guys. I like the whole notion that money is for buisnesses, consuming is for consumers. Less you charge the consumer the more they consume the more that buisnesses take note of your services and want to get a piece of that action, and the more they are willing to pay.

      Just imagine if Cable was free since its add supported. Yeah!

        • insulin_junkie72
        • 9 years ago

        It’s so revolutionary that broadcast TV has been doing it for, oh, seventy years or so!

        😛

        (Granted, the companies behind the broadcast TV networks – minus the post-Viacom split CBS, which only has Showtime – own most of the major cable channels, having found the even better model of getting both subscriber fees AND ad revenue.)

      • indeego
      • 9 years ago

      Roots, but with a tad more customer service. I’ve had enough interaction with Google’s small business support side to know that I do not want to invest my time with them furthermore.

        • Firestarter
        • 9 years ago

        Yeah if you have troubles with your Adsense account as a relative smalltimer (say less than $1000 a month Adsense revenue), you’re out of luck.

      • Welch
      • 9 years ago

      I can’t tell you how wrong you are Blast. Google has sort of spread themselves thin, but the last market I want them to withdraw from is mobile platforms. Sure they have had a bunch of fail projects, but that’s apart of the nimbleness of a start-up that they are talking about. Having TONS of projects and weeding out the ones that don’t work. Now if they would pick out those revolutionary projects and build a permanent team around it to improve and maintain it, then we are talking!

      GMail – Love the hell out of it, sometimes I still get the “Alpha-Testing” feel from it, not so much since the release of their mobile platform.

      Google Search – No kidding… but there is only so much tweaking they can do, still the best search engine in the biz because its SIMPLE!!!!!!!!!!!!! Screw BING for the over-bloated P.O.S that it is.

      Android – Such a short period of time and its already leaps ahead of Apple’s mobile platform as far as i’m concerned. The only downside is that some hardware manufacturers make crappy hardware to accompany it and idiot consumers build and opinion based on low end junk that should have never had android loaded on it.

      Google Maps – I mean come on……. no one else does it nearly as good as google. And this is probably one of the largest things that they could put a larger team on and begin to market it smartly to businesses. GPS tracking and what not to company trucks, live updates. Things that they almost offer in the private market for free but is limited by the crappy networks that run the devices *Stares at ATT*

    • HisDivineShadow
    • 9 years ago

    This is all about perception. Google is now perceived as “corporate” and not as “friendly.” They want to put a friendly face on again for their customers and their employees. The easiest way to do that is to use Eric “Privacy isn’t important if you aren’t doing the bad stuff” Schmidt as a scapegoat and slit his job’s throat in the hopes that the sacrificial blood shall appease the Gods of Public and Company.

    They probably also think that having a leader with an origin story not unlike the Zuckerberg might bring back the regular man in and of itself. However, that’d be a misreading of the situation. People don’t use Facebook because they think Zuckerberg’s heart-warming story of how he was dumped by a girl because he is an arrogant SOB, so he went on to show her how much people REALLY like other people and how he could profit from it, is a tale worth rewarding. They use Zuckerberg’s monstrosity because the only thing people like more than being liked by lots of people is being able to fool themselves into thinking they’re loved by a thousand times more people than they’re actually liked by.

    IF Google can get into the business of self-deception, then they too can get all the privacy data a man can shove onto a digital profile. The beauty of Facebook is that not only does it get 90% of the people on the digital space, but the 10% it doesn’t get are having their data also mined by association with the other 90% who fill in a lot of the blanks. Photos of you, mentions of you, etc, all sneak their way on and soon Facebook has info about you that you didn’t even list. Hell, they know you exist. And I’m sure it won’t be no time at all before they’re aggressively pursuing you (even without your friends harassing you to join) because you exist and they know it.

    The Facebook is watching. And didn’t you know? It likes you.

      • Voldenuit
      • 9 years ago

      “No, I don’t WANT to play Yahtzee!”

      • ludi
      • 9 years ago

      Tell me you didn’t buy Skorkin’s creative license hook, line and sinker. ’cause it sounds like that’s what you did.

      • thermistor
      • 9 years ago

      I have a concurring opinion. I always stated to people who weren’t on FB to have a purpose for doing it: Playing games, staying in touch with family, etc., but don’t just go into it because “everyone is doing it”.

      I also concur that FB is doing some pretty large-scale data mining, and some of it is not in the best interests of the user.

      My own purpose has come to an end. I am in the process of deleting every single thing I ever posted, all pictures, vids, etc. because as a tool, FB failed to move my long-distance family relationships closer in any meaningful way. And there are plenty of other tools for posting and linking family pictures, etc. on the ‘net without giving a ton of info away for free.

      FB also has a difficult process to actually resign your account, if you want all traces of yourself wiped away. That’s a little Orwellian in an of itself.

      Having said all that, there is real value in MS, Google, AMD, et. al., basically FB is the new/improved MySpace, and when the next iteration of social networking comes around, FB will be the next MySpace.

      • tu2thepoo
      • 9 years ago

      I bet you’re a blast at parties.

      • indeego
      • 9 years ago

      1. Then they would have axed him soon after he made those remarks…repeatedly.

      2. Jerry Yang. Nuff Said. Then again, Gates and Jobs were/are the best to run those companies.

      3. Oh certainly, I imagine there are hundreds of thousands of profiles out there of people that are not facebook aware. i.e. I know Sally Jane isn’t on Facebook, why don’t I impersonate her and gather information about her and her friends by friending everyone. Xerox that idea many times.

    • wingless
    • 9 years ago

    This truly is big news. I wonder if Android OS will change any. It’s almost like they’re bringing back a visionary founder like Apple did with Jobs.

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