Surprise: Google Cofounder Larry Page Takes Over As CEO

It was no secret that Google cofounder Larry Page hankered to be CEO at some point. (I should say, again–he was the founding CEO–but it always seemed from what I heard that he wanted another shot at the appropriate time.) Today, he got his wish, as Google just announced that he will take over from Eric Schmidt as CEO, focusing on product development and technology strategy. Schmidt will be executive chairman, handling deals, partnerships, government outreach, and other external matters, as well as serve as internal adviser to Page and cofounder Sergey Brin, whose title will be simply cofounder. He will focus on special projects, while Page’s key jobs will be product development and technology strategy.

Currently, Page is president of product and Brin is president of technology. By design, the trio was a single executive office that made decisions jointly–an arrangement that apparently wasn’t working as well as they wished for a company that now has more than 24,000 employees. Google has been slow to respond, at least with winning products, to key developments such as social networking.

More on the implications after the following comments at the start of Google’s earnings call. Here’s Schmidt on the call (edited after listening to the call again):

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What’s Coming on the Internet in 2011 (Or Not)

I know I shouldn’t do it–predictions too often are either obvious or wrong–but I can’t help it. If I have to think about what’s coming in 2011, and I do, I might as well inflict those thoughts on the rest of the world. Isn’t that what blogging is all about? Anyway, here’s what I expect to see this year:

* There will be at least one monster initial public offering in tech. Take your pick (in more or less descending order of likelihood): SkypeGroupon, ZyngaDemand MediaLinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook (only if it has to). But despite many stories that will call this event a bellwether,  the IPO won’t bring back anything like the bubble days of the late 1990s (and thank goodness for that) because there are still only a few marquee names that can net multibillion-dollar valuations. UPDATE: Well, so much for that descending order. LinkedIn apparently will be the first to file–though whether it will be a “monster” IPO is another question. UPDATE 2: Well, here’s that monster IPO–since it’s hard to believe Facebook won’t go public if it has to disclose financials anyway. But it likely won’t happen until early 2012. Update 3: Now Groupon appears to be leading the IPO derby. Update 4, 1/20/11: Now it looks like Demand Media will be the first out. Again, not sure that’s the monster one, but if it’s successful, more will come.

* App fever will cool. Good apps that encapsulate a useful task or bit of entertainment–Angry Birds, AroundMe, Google Voice–will continue to do well. But those apps that do little more than apply a pretty layer atop Web content won’t get much traction–and moneymaking opportunities are uncertain in any case. The bigger issue: Once HTML5 becomes the widespread standard for creating Web services, enabling much more interactive Web services right from the browser, I wonder whether the need for separate apps will gradually fade. Continue reading

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