Google Apps

Sanity check: Has Eric Schmidt finally outmaneuvered Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer?

Eric Schmidt got knocked around pretty badly by Microsoft during his tenures at Sun Microsystems and Novell. But, in his leadership of Google, Schmidt now appears to have successfully turned the tables on Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer, who are scrambling for ways to catch up.

When Eric Schmidt left his job as the chairman and CEO of Novell to become the top executive at Google in 2001 he privately told journalist John Battelle that one of the things he was looking forward to was no longer competing with Microsoft.

Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer badly trounced Novell during Schmidt's four-year stay (1997-2001) at the Provo, Utah software company. And before that, Microsoft siphoned off server revenue from Sun Microsystems during Schmidt's tenure as Sun CTO from 1994-1997. From those experiences, Schmidt knew that Microsoft played hardball and occasionally played fast and loose with silly little details like anti-trust laws and government regulations.

Illustration credit: Hellovon for Portfolio.com

Schmidt came out of his stints at Sun and Novell battered and bruised by Microsoft. He had no desire to go toe-to-toe with Gates and Ballmer again. Taking a job at an Internet search engine -- which was growing rapidly but still struggling for an idea of how to make money -- hardly looked like a company that would compete with Microsoft in its core businesses.

What a difference seven years makes.

Under Schmidt's leadership, Google has figured out how to make money, lots of it -- $5.19 billion in revenue in its most recent quarter. The vast majority of that money comes from its search ads business, but Google has also forayed into the applications business. And now the combination of applications and search ads has Microsoft spooked.

While Google Apps have thus far done very little to erode the market share of Microsoft Office, the conventional wisdom in the IT industry is that software-as-a-serve (SaaS) such as Google Apps is where the market is moving, and that the owners of tomorrow are planting their stakes in the ground right now.

Google is very well positioned. It already has hundreds of millions of online users. It has the software and hardware infrastructure to handle SaaS and it has the strongest and most trusted brand name on the Web. No one understands this better than Microsoft. That's why Ballmer swung for the fences and tried to acquire Yahoo.

The collapse of the Microsoft-Yahoo deal has one big winner: Google. It also has two big losers: Yahoo and Ballmer. Yahoo will have a very difficult time creating the amount of value for its shareholders that Microsoft was offering. Ballmer swung for the fences and whiffed in this deal. He'll fight on, but the fact that he went after Yahoo was a de facto admission that he does not have much faith in his troops to take on Google alone.

While I doubt that the combination of Microsoft and Yahoo would have done much to stop Google's momentum on the Web, it's clear that neither of the two companies have shown the ability to innovate or execute on a broadly successful Web search strategy. And until someone can find a way to compete with Google on search -- the primary method most people use to approach the Internet -- Google's growth and momentum will continue unchecked. And one day soon Google will transfer a lot of those users to its online applications en mass. It's already started with Gmail, and to a lesser extent, Google Apps. Nearly everyone in the technology sector sees it coming, even Microsoft. And even Google itself.

Google knows that it has the potential to become as large and as powerful as Microsoft. It knows that it is on course to become the next Microsoft -- potentially even bigger and more powerful when you consider the fact that it could soon control the largest compilation of information ever gathered in human history.

Google's entire culture of "Don't be evil" is a direct reaction to Microsoft, which Google believes did become evil once it got big and powerful and began wielding its influence to crush smaller competitors, upstarts, and companies that didn't cooperate with Microsoft's vision of the tech sector. Schmidt recently commented on this in an interview for Portfolio magazine:

"We had a debate about this a while ago, and it had nothing to do with Yahoo. The question was how to prevent what happened at Microsoft from happening at Google. Consumers have had more choice on the Internet. And we have a set of policies that we follow - entrenched inside the culture - the most important of which is that we won't trap user data in proprietary systems. So we have a rule: You have to make it possible for people who don't like your service to get out. If I don't like Google, I can switch to Yahoo, Microsoft, or whatever. This has another impact that's not as obvious. It serves as a check and balance on poor-quality teams. They can't prevent users from fleeing bad products. It also helps us with this question of becoming too big and powerful."

Whether users ultimately believe that and decide to fully trust Google remains to be seen. Over the next several years, Google is going to be heavily scrutinized for its privacy and security practices once it becomes public knowledge how much data Google is sitting on, especially individual user data, history, and usage patterns.

As for Schmidt, he not only has the clear upper hand on the Web with Google, but he also joined the board of directors at Apple in 2006. With Apple eating away at Windows market share and publicly excoriating Windows in the "Get a Mac" commercials, Schmidt's work at Apple is also helping to quietly undermine one of Microsoft's core businesses.

Last year, at the Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco, Schmidt and Battelle shared the stage for a keynote interview. In that session, Battelle reminded Schmidt of his comment about not competing with Microsoft when he first joined Google.

"I was wrong," Schmidt admitted.

Like it not, Eric Schmidt is destined to go down in history as one of the most active opponents to Bill Gates, Steve Ballmer, and the Microsoft legacy. During the past seven years, Schmidt's role in that saga has changed from whipping boy to white knight, and unless something dramatic happens it's very likely that Google and Schmidt will ultimately be portrayed as the good guys -- and the winners.

About

Jason Hiner is the Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He is an award-winning journalist who writes about the people, products, and ideas that are revolutionizing the ways we live and work in the 21st century.

67 comments
Raingirl
Raingirl

So the whole EVIL bit....is that only if you sell out to the Chinese government AGAINST CIVIL RIGHTS to make more money for your stockholders? And this is different from Microsoft how?? No company can become that large that quickly without cutting loose ethics; try typing in Tiananmen square in China through google. You get lots of pretty toursit pictures. Google sold out for the stockholders, just like all the other large companies; Cisco, Wal-mart, etc. So let's not make them out to be more than they are; or less evil.

mirth1956
mirth1956

we as a society have forgotten to give respect to seniors, be that human beings or corporates. competition has always been there even in parents and off springs but we respected each others plus points and gained from them, also we understood their mistakes and learned from them. In a mad rush to create just more money money and money we have given up the humanity and have become minting machines. We should respect the fact that companies like MS have given us a platform from where companies like google are where they are. No body can be perfect and so it applies to MS and google also. Specially for google cause as they grow they will know how difficult it is to maintain same kind of share in the market. someday somebody will com up with their alternative also and then the blame game starts again........

$$$$$$$$$$
$$$$$$$$$$

Yes, Google has name recognition and appeal outside of the Fortune 500 far beyond Microsoft. Corporate sponsorship has taken Microsoft as far as that can, and a bit past.

David Blomstrom
David Blomstrom

I won't be happy until Billysoft crashes and burns - Microsoft, Bill Gates and that disgusting investment racket masquearading as a charity, the Gates Foundation. As a resident of Seatte, a former teacher with the local school district and a long-time political activist, I can tell you lots of stories about Bill Gates - none of them pretty. Microsoft is going down, and I'm going to do my part to make it happen. David Blomstrom

k12teacher
k12teacher

Let's get real, Microsoft spends $20-Billion buying back it's own stock each year. If they really wanted Yahoo bad enough, it would have happened. Yahoo aforded them a short cut in gaining a market share of the search engine business, that's it. My guess is we will see a great deal more capital invested in the Windows Live area of business in the coming year. What does that mean? Schmidt is behind the eight-ball once again!

The Truth
The Truth

Google DID DO EVIL when they agreed to cooperate with the Chinese government on censoring content. A little rationalization goes a long way.....

RayneToday
RayneToday

Microsoft's problems aren't Google and Schmidt/Brin/Page. Microsoft needs to shift its focus entirely to the customer. They aren't listening and haven't listened for a very long time (if ever), watching their perceived competitors more closely than at what their customers want. Contrast this with Google's approach, or even Apple's approach; Google concentrates on users' delight, looking over their shoulder only occasionally at MSFT. They actually listen to users, reflected in their attitude towards blogging. Apple concentrates on shifts in paradigms, not necessarily aiming for user delight, but in asking users to rethink their standards for delight. Ask yourself the next time you are using an MSFT product: do you feel delighted, surprised? Do you believe MSFT was looking for that kind of a reaction when designing the product you're using? Or do you believe that MSFT was asking you to rethink your expectations of similar products?

gus
gus

Being forced into the Bill Gates Club for our school district has been expensive. I welcome other clubs to join.

email
email

It's easy to bash Microsoft because they are an impersonal unresponsive machine with a bad attitude. But AFAIC Google are not far behind. The concept of "exportable data" is very nice but there has to be somewhere to export it to, and Google, by choice or accident, are tieing people in knots. It's hard not to have something Google these days. But in the front line, being a web publisher means needing organic search, and who dominates 66.2% of that? The option is paid search and PPC. And who owns X% of that? Now let's look at paid search. Google imposes a massive premium and a stupid tax on its customers. The ad prices are inflated and not economic for the ROI. i.e. my ads would cost more than the profit on my product. You can blame my product if you want, but Google doesn't assess your product. And this is before the customer even gets to see it. With the same campaign on Yahoo, I am paying 20% less, getting 300% more and X% better conversion. (So my product is OK for a Yahoo market then...) Thee only problem is I can't access 75% of my market by only using Yahoo. So in what way has Google not become an "impersonal unresponsive machine" like Microsoft? When was the last time you rang Google, or got an email response from them? When was the last time they helped you personally or changed something for you? When will they? Also on-Line apps are highly floored. Beside Internet connectivity causing a huge barrier, there are major issues with security, privacy and ownership. If your payment that month hicups, or your Internet connection goes down, how do you access your data? If your account gets closed, how do you get your own data back? Local backup? Sounds like a non on-line solution to me, so why have the hassle and lack of freedom of using a mediocre, slow as the Internet application? And whilst you are typing your email, and google is (anonymously?) scanning it in the background to serve you relevant ads, they are anonymously not storing it against flags/trends in your personal user profile? That will be a big no then. Google are the polite street mugger! "Here let me carry your heavy shopping for you. Let me pack and store your groceries for you in my own cupboard to give you more space for a potted plant. Hey let me tell you where to shop cheaper. Give me your money and I'll buy the groceries for you." The end conversation can easily be; "Sorry I've decide you can;t eat today as I'm too busy helping somebody richer" and "I'm bored with you. Here export your shopping to your own cupboard again." And "I make my own mobile phone network now, you have to use that and I own part of Apple so you have to use that too, oh and this and this" It's massive amount of faith needed in this relationship. And we know how common divorce is at some stage. Even after 30 years. I'm not sure how anything can become so large that it does not become "impersonal unresponsive machine" especially when it started out like that as well. We need major and equal competition. Google already control 66.2% or organic search. Isn't that a worry? As funny as my urban legend conspiracy theory may be, am I wrong? PeterBuick.com

klrumpf
klrumpf

All I know is that Google just raised my wife's adwords CPC minimum bid from 0.30 Cents to 8 Euros for the same keywords

bent
bent

The only clear outcome of the failure of the Microsoft/Yahoo deal is that Yahoo is a big loser. Swallowing Yahoo might very well have given Microsoft severe indigestion.

enghua.chia
enghua.chia

some OS company got to beat down microsoft!!

RayneToday
RayneToday

Which is more ethical: Provide NO search services to PRC users, leaving the entirety of PRC to a PRC-only provider? Or provide better search tools with some limitations, with the hope that critical information may leak through due to the organic quality of search and indexing? Absolutism can be ethically dangerous.

kingttx
kingttx

Do you care to share any short stories or would that open you up to being smacked around by Microsofty lawyer wigs?

ajaygupta.p
ajaygupta.p

No search engine in China is allowed to run uncensored. Its not like its just Google. Even Baidu is censored. But at least the search engine mentions that some results have been blocked due to govt regulations. At least, the chinese have access to more links than they used to earlier. Probably not perfect but Google seems to be trying to improve things there.

$$$$$$$$$$
$$$$$$$$$$

I agree that censorship is evil. I do not agree that Google is the entity to stand up to China. Such expectation contradicts centuries of traditions and facts, regarding the roles of governments and of private enterprises. The politically influential, corporatist media has reported on Google's cooperation with China, disproportionately to its underreporting of the United States Congress' cooperation with China. Wonder why? AP owns Reuters, which together supply nearly all the daily headlines. In effect, they decide what is "news" and what is unreported "business as usual," unless you search for what they don't want to print, for whatever reasons they don't feel like printing it. Google DID DO EVIL when they agreed to cooperate with the Chinese government on censoring content, but the United States government gave them the choice to capitulate, or become uncompetitive. Democracy in China, and Freedom for Tibet.

LBiege
LBiege

I'm happily locked in the .Net world for 5 years coming off the FOSS/JAVA world. Ah yeah, they charge big bucks on their Visual Studio, Server, licenses and so on while those FOSS guys gives out for free. Oh they are also proprietary / close-source (as if I care). But hey, the productivity you get from their tools way out-# the bucks you put down there. I'll continue to stay there and won't miss the Java days anytime soon.

sml
sml

Do you really think MSFT has stopped or never listened to the customer? Let's have some perspective. Win3.1, MS Office, MS SQL, WinXP, Visual Studio, Silverlight are all great examples of change wrought by customer input and MS response. I remember being "delighted" in younger days on seeing the UI improvement in Win95 . . . look at the animated copy icon flying papers to the folder (a metaphorical visual progress bar)! I knew my beginning computer students would now understand what was happening and enjoy computers more, integrating them into their daily life. And I was delighted when I installed a web server for our department for the first time without having to unpack files, open configuration files in vi. As I was delighted writing musical scores on my 512KE Mac, or first searching in Google and quickly finding an answer. After using Windows Media Server and Silverlight, I do expect Flash server, or REAL, or Quicktime server to work better, more solid and business-oriented than these non-Microsoft products.

sml
sml

We have. They have little interest or respect for simple business courtesy like returning phone calls or responding fully to an RFP. They have some information online, but at least in our case, we needed more information and they did not respond after three queries to two different people. In another instance, we had built a solution on a technology they purchased. While they did not actively disrupt our business, they effectively closed off future development making the solution a dead end with no replacement. While that might not be "evil" in my definition of the word, it is certainly no good business. Trust was harmed and their in inattention to business fundamentals cost us lost time, money, and revenue. Lesson learned. Will we "never" do business with Google? Hardly, but deal for deal, dollar for dollar, hour for hour, Microsoft has better value for our software business (+25 years old, +1600 global employees) than Google.

straightlineeng
straightlineeng

I choose not to use google for that very reason. All the tracking, and info collected. SaaS is going to kill many unsuspecting small businesses that do not know waht they are jumping into. The scifi book Collusus, the movie The Forbin Project, is where this is going Beware..

Craig_B
Craig_B

This seems like the way of business. A person or small company starts out with a great idea. They get $$ to back it up and start building a company. The idea takes off and they transform into a big company. The big company slows down and the investors, board, etc. focus on how much more money they can get and soon forget about the customer. The teenagers have become their parents. Then another small company comes out with a great idea and the process continues...

RBFeddersen
RBFeddersen

Any large company will always feel "impersonal".... Its the nature of the beast and a sound business strategy. How could any company stay afloat if they assigned one person per business contact or customer? As for equal competition, this is a free enterprise market. The better product becomes the popular product and has the largest market share. If there was a better version of google, (in and of itself, a better version of the early 90's AOL and Yahoo), then people will flock to it. Why does the IT community at large, remain skeptical of the popular large companies that they create? Microsoft was great and popular at first, and now is chastised. Cisco is in the same boat. Now, Google is as well. Once we like a product, pay a lot of money for it, we don't like the fact that they become a large entity and gasp, want to make more money? Seems silly to me.... I think Google is great, Cisco is still great, and Microsoft's products could use work, but these are all market leaders for a reason... Be it, better product (Cisco and Google) or better advertising... or in microsoft's case, shady business tactics...

mburton325
mburton325

I don't think I could have put this in a more elegant way. To put it simple, if I caught one of my users using a web based application such as google apps, I would revoke privledges immediately. The simple truth in the matter with any SaaS is we are being asked to trust the security set by someone else. As these companies are either un-willing or can't provide the certification of their security people this I find hard to do. You are the CISSP for your company, or just the server administrator, would you willingly just trust anyone to protect your network or data? This is what we are being asked to do by Google and Microsoft. Google uses open source applications for its SaaS how much easier is it for a hacker with a grudge against your company? I believe any one that has been around since the late 80's knows how big a target Microsoft is for hackers. It comes down to who should you trust some unknown security person at google? or the security and server administrators that you work with daily? Google not evil? Logic does not point that way.

Dumphrey
Dumphrey

it struck a cord with me. I think I may be on the same page as you with google. Also, no one mentions the shear amount of data googles stores about "anonymous users" for marketing purposes, I mean improving search performance. Now I am not against a company making money, but I feel google should be showing users exactly what type of data its collecting.

pmjm
pmjm

No one in their right mind would trust M$, Ebay, Paypal, Mobile Phone giant or any of these lawyer top heavy companies with their own data and future. The only thing you can be sure of is increasing fees and more distant and offhand support as they grind you into a profit number. As soon as Ebay and Google got large, big and powerful enough they upped their fees - they will be no end to it, 30% upwards commission , on client sales, has been achieved in other fields.

ajaygupta.p
ajaygupta.p

Yeah right... thats probably because your ads are not very targeted. The CPC is increased to discourage ads that are not too relevant to the search term used. Obviously, Google isn't getting evil. You just have to get smart.

DanLM
DanLM

prices because of that? Price of their goods(equipment, bandwidth, energy) has gone up. You don't expect that to be passed along? That's not evil, that is just business. Or is not being evil meaning they can't run a company like a company should be run? To make a profit fairly based on their costs? Sorry, in my eyes they have a right to charge higher prices when their costs go up. It's called business. Nothing evil about it. Dan

joergsattler
joergsattler

Dont worry, Microsoft is on its way toward defeat by its own inability to adapt from within.

armstrongb
armstrongb

His tenure at Novell was a catastrophe. He wasn't that dumb but he had no clue how to compete with Microsoft. So he bailed to a place where he thought he could escape from the competition. I will give him credit, he did not screw up Google. But I don't think he is responsible for the success of Google. He just landed there at the right time.

TtfnJohn
TtfnJohn

What Google has brilliantly, in hindsight, has done is simple. They kept their focus on their core business while actively sponsoring other things which have led to products, in perpetual beta of course, like GMail, Google Maps and so on. Mr Schmidt has to get a large portion of the credit for this. In the last 15 years or so going up against Microsoft has either spooked others in IT or led them to try to compete where MS is most potent. Not many of them are still around or are mere shadows of their former selves. Lotus, Wordperfect and Borland come quickly to mind. While Google stuck to it's knitting, refined it's search and advertising technology, then slowly introduced more and more apps. At the same time Google has avoided alienating the open source community and has actively courted them with various Google Summer of Code events They've avoided becoming arrogant and they continue to do their core business better than anyone else. Remember that people don't search anymore as much as "google" for information. And who'd have thought that simple, targeted text ads would bring in so much and keep users from revolting over the content as they (and I) often do when presented with garish banners, flash and java. "Don't be evil" as a motto or mission statement is simple and to the point. For the most part they haven't been evil particularly when compared with Microsoft. I can't think of a single tech company with the brand presence that Google has and only a small handful of companies outside tech who are, it not trusted, almost always given the benefit of the doubt. Microsoft can only dream of that. They were late to the Internet and, even then, half hearted about it except for the browser wars which they saw as an attack on their Windows franchise. They were late to search and advertising as well. MS lacks the corporate culture to deal with an entity like Google. They have far too much to defend in Windows and Office which they feel are under attack by both Google, on one hand, and the open source community on the other hand. Congrats to Google and Mr Schwartz.

joergsattler
joergsattler

Inasmuch as Microsoft has pretty much tried to hog all the bandwith available in this ,i call it the information highway war, Microsoft i.e. Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates have fallen short of their goal, ti wit , the domination of all things computer related including the way information is generated, stored and retrieved. Yes Eric Schmidt does desrve a very substantial share of credit for in my view defeating Microsoft and the brilliant stewardship of Google. Despite his earlier apparent defeats of individual battles at Novell and SUN microsystem, it sure looks like as if he won the overall war, at least in this category of information storage and dissemination. I fully applaud and support anyone thats commited to the open exchange of information and technology. In My view there is NO PLACE in our society for proprietary and secretive practices. I myself will not purchase, use, or otherwise support proprietary tech whenever there is any reasonable other choice, having learned in 26 years of using one technology or other to be part of the information age to stay away from things o had no control or influence over.

mikeb_in Colo.
mikeb_in Colo.

The answer is yes, he was in the right place at the right time and the sooner people realize that the success of a company comes from it's product/s and those who support it, and not from its CEO then the sooner we'll give credit were credit is due. Novell was dead and nothing or any person was going to change that, SUN will never catch Microsoft until it comes up with an easier OS to manage (and lowers it's hardware costs) and Google would have crushed anyone no matter who was running the show. Let the engineers do what they do best and listen to your customers. Management rarely makes something better but they can definitely mess up something good.

shannonb
shannonb

Google had themselves well positioned before Schmidt came on board. What key decisions did Schmidt make that made a difference? Google already had revenue-from-keyword-ads setup before he joined. I don't want to say he did "nothing" because I have no idea what he did or didn't do. But the only thing offered in this article is "revenue from ads" which doesn't seem like enough.

paorsu
paorsu

Of course he deserves the credit. At the end management counts!

htv
htv

Simple.. One wrong move by eric would have change the course of google.

simonjohnroberts
simonjohnroberts

Hmm, do Jobs or Gates deserve the credit by the same token then?

LBiege
LBiege

News flash: The better search tool in China is Baidu specialized in searching Chinese text. Google was there just trying set a foothold in a future huge market. All such "providing Chinese better tools" talking is, frankly, BS.

RayneToday
RayneToday

Believe what you like (and drink the Kool-Aid of choice). I've been a consultant in competitive intelligence in the software industry, and I have a pretty good idea exactly what their decision-making process was like at MSFT. Silverlight in particular was more about ensuring a competitor didn't cut into their market segment than it was about customer delight with a product. Office 2007 is filled with bloat, and it's extremely costly in terms of retraining, for very little real value added. But Office has offered overkill for years, because it was less difficult to weight it down than rethink the business model behind 30% of MSFT income. Lastly, one word says a lot about MSFT's worldview: Vista. If Vista really had customers in mind, XP would be dead by now.

ajaygupta.p
ajaygupta.p

I agree with you. The UI Microsoft brought out back then, the Win 9x series were instrumental in bringing computers in to our lives. But the development and improvement we saw from Win 9X to Win XP is missing now. Yeah, I know XP can be a messed up OS but it has worked fine for me so far. But, having worked in tech support for a while, I know XP can be a pain. I wish MS would work on their OS a little more than wasting time trying to compete with Google on domains where their expertise is limited.

RayneToday
RayneToday

Such a disconnect between the number of organizations that utilize Google's advertising products and your experience.

DanLM
DanLM

Why, because its personal experience. Dan

kingttx
kingttx

I'll answer one of your questions, "Google uses open source applications for its SaaS how much easier is it for a hacker with a grudge against your company?" Perhaps you meant this as a rhetorical question meant only to propagate the myth that the ability to see the source code means it's easier to hack. This has been refuted over and over and over and over. Here is an excellent article answering that "question": http://www.theregister.co.uk/security/security_report_windows_vs_linux/ Allow me to quote a portion, if you will: "As another example, the Apache web server is open source. Microsoft IIS is proprietary. In this case, the evidence refutes both the "most popular" myth and the "open source danger" myth. The Apache web server is by far the most popular web server. If these two myths were both true, one would expect Apache and the operating systems on which it runs to suffer far more intrusions and problems than Microsoft Windows and IIS. Yet precisely the opposite is true. Apache has a near monopoly on the best uptime statistics. Neither Microsoft Windows nor Microsoft IIS appear anywhere in the top 50 servers with the best uptime. Obviously, the fact that malicious hackers have access to the source code for Apache does not give them an advantage for creating more successful attacks against Apache than IIS." Therefore, even if the source is viewable by anyone, quality of the code will prevail over obscurity any day. Enjoy!

JCitizen
JCitizen

now there is a corporation that has turned many a former middle class business man into a 16 hour a day share cropper, with no hope for a future.

ThePoster
ThePoster

I remember Schmidt very clearly from his days at Novell. Personally, I think that he would have been able to make more of a positive impact had the long time diehards within Novell been more receptive to his ideas. My .02 cents...

$$$$$$$$$$
$$$$$$$$$$

Because it's based in joergsattler's personal experience, and is consistent with my own.

JCitizen
JCitizen

an old warrior against MS. With the inevitable war I see coming between Google and Microsoft over online application, they could use a good battle scarred general.

enduroktm300
enduroktm300

that what makes a good CEO is knowing when the right time is. What would have happened at Google if Gates were running things? I am not bashing Gates, he's brilliant, but he is running a "Tycoon" business in a open and shared environment (that he was instrumental in creating.) Without management and direction all you have is a bunch of really good engineers/programmers/developers etc...

remanuel
remanuel

I have been on about every level possible in software companies - from demo jock to director level. Believe me there is no one person or position that desrves all the credit in a company that makes it as big as Google. Pure technical excellence without the marketing, sales, and superior upper management WILL fail. Great CEO's without a decent product or technical staff will fail. The confluence of people at all levels in the past 10 years has been nothing short of perfect.

alaniane
alaniane

Even though I'm a developer so I'm the design side and not the management side. Management does play a key role. They're the ones who decide what projects get funded. No matter how good our ideas maybe, without funding it's hard to put them to fruition.

LBiege
LBiege

Don't expect to see source code of their search engine any time soon?

revelator357
revelator357

I believe Schmidt has more going for him than just being in the right place at the right time, I believe his experience fighting against Microsoft has groomed him to be their chief adversary. Novell being a superior network operating software in my opinion, places him in the same type of arena as the Microsoft guys thus giving him the head on competition experience required to prevail over Microsoft.

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

Gates and Jobs were both co-founders. Schmidt is not. Google was not his idea.

RayneToday
RayneToday

The point I originally responded to was about the ethics, not the quality of search tools. I didn't question the quality of Baidu's tools. I didn't say that Google had better tools. But if one is looking for information OUTSIDE Chinese text, then Baidu may not be it and it may be more ethical to let the users access other non-Chinese tools even if limited. Nice attempt to change the subject, though.

sml
sml

Your restatement was perfect. I appreciate that, becase so often on TR, the discussion centers on hyperbole and unreason with too little real experience and thoughful reflection. This discussion from Abso, you, and Peter Buick was actually worth the time. Cheers, Scott Lawson

$$$$$$$$$$
$$$$$$$$$$

I haven't noticed the polarization on the topic of Google, except for a couple posts mentioning it, so I totally missed how you were referring to that. Sorry about all the verbiage over a trivial misunderstanding.

sml
sml

I was responding to the conceptual question and thus kept my answer conceptual, trying to simply add one voice to the opinion. It is based on our specific expereince and perceptions, and thus falls into the realm of opinion, not scientific, verified fact. However, I was not intending to hide anything. The detial you seek is that the system WAS called "JotSpot" and was purchased by Google, left alone for a while, and then turned into Google Sites. These have less functionality and the specialized requests we had and planned on were halted to make the service open to the general population as a compeditor to Sharepoint and others. The other situation I spoke about with the RFP non-response was 4-5 years ago with a product line from Google for Corporate Enterprise Search. I don't recall off the top of my head what the various names of those product(s) were, but that issue was one of Google being too big and "impersonal" to deal with our mid-sized company. Hope this helps.

DanLM
DanLM

what I got from his post was something that wasn't... Oh, Google is big business. They are evil. I seen that nowhere in his post. Or, they are raising their prices, again they are evil. It was just a personal experience he was sharing, where he is sharing the problems(from a buisness aspect) that he has encountered. Your right, the service he experienced the problem with would have been nice to know... Oh well... I'm so use to either seeing two types of posts here. Google is evil like MS or Google is god. His was, I've dealt with Google and had problems but I won't stop dealing with them. Did that make any sense what I just tried to say? Dan

$$$$$$$$$$
$$$$$$$$$$

I agree, sml made clear that he had problems with a business Google acquired, so not search or ads. And I can understand leaving out some details, but I don't see why he would have to leave out which of [b]Google's[/b] products was involved just to protect his own business company's information. That's why I asked. And it seems like you already understood my question, but you don't think sml left out anything important, so let me put it differently. In future potential dealings with Google, are you likely to seek a third-party, more comprehensive survey of a number of customers of that Google product, or just go by that one guy's opinion, for any of Google's acquisitions?

DanLM
DanLM

buisness. The post was detailed enough to state it was not a Google developed product which I would think rules out the search or ad part of their buisness. I'm assuming here(yea, I know, never assume). But, I thought those two points were enough detail to give some insight without giving away his companies information. 1). No followup from Google. 2). Concerning a product from a company that Google bought. That is why I made the post. Dan

$$$$$$$$$$
$$$$$$$$$$

You didn't find that a tad short on specifics?

RayneToday
RayneToday

No, Google's business model is currently based on some closed, proprietary information. However Google is one of the strongest supporters of open source code development; note Google's Summer of Code program, for example.

Editor's Picks