Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 23rd May 2012 16:13 UTC
Google Google CEO Larry Page was interviewed on Charlie Rose recently, and there was certainly some interesting stuff in there. Sadly, the interview suffers from the curse of modern journalism in that it was all a bit timid and civil (no truly harsh and confronting questions), but despite that, it's still a good watch. Two quotes from Page really stood out to me.
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RE[2]: are you kidding?
by Tony Swash on Wed 23rd May 2012 18:11 UTC in reply to "RE: are you kidding?"
Tony Swash
Member since:
2009-08-22

Of course, legal assaults are par for the course - I meant it more in a sense that a few guys on a university doing a search engine on a single server could not have anticipated this.


Particularly if those guys were deeply imbued with a shared culture that all information should be free and open to Google, that copying anything was OK, that casually cloning, undermining and killing other companies products was OK as long as it was for free and was 'open'. Somewhere deep inside I think these guys just think it's OK to share anything and everything with anyone (except their search algorithms of course), and probably are taken aback that people get pissed off about their stuff being copied.

I am not sure it's worth the effort but here goes.

There is zero evidence that Apple "have been looking to shutdown the Android competition, which hasn't really been working out swell for them"

All the evidence I can see points to Apple having a strategy of waging a long attritional legal campaign to deter other companies from copying their designs. One may argue that Apple are deluded that such copying is occurring, or that such copying is OK or that Apple do just as much copying, but it is abundantly clear that Apple genuinely believes such copying is occurring and that they want to stop it, or at least drastically reduce it. It also seems clear that no one with an ounce of common sense would think that through clever legal manoeuvre it would be possible to suppress permanently, or even for a significant period of time, competition in the hottest tech markets. And certainly there is no evidence that anyone at Apple thinks such silly things. It seems to me pretty straight forward, Apple think they get copied too much, they want to reduce that copying, so by being very proactive in taking robustly fought legal actions they want to deter companies from copying in future. One can accept that analysis of Apple's intentions with out in any way endorsing or approving their actions.

Turning to the Page interview, when he says "When we bought Android, we had no idea they were doing it, and they had no idea we were doing it" I think he is being truthful. At that time Google's main worry was the possible rise of Windows Mobile (and an ancillary concern about RIM I suspect) because if Microsoft had managed to take over the smart phone OS space like that had the desktop space then there would be a good chance that Google's services would be shut out. Android was originally a play largely against MS, to trump them by undercutting a paid license OS model with an equally good and free one. But then the iPhone was announced and overnight any half way intelligent observer knew that all previous phone systems were obsolete. At that point Android had to retool and reorient and it had to adopt the same design paradigm as the iPhone and be at least good enough so that the Android OEMs could sell against the iPhone.

Google is between a rock and hard place when it comes to mobile. No one makes much money from mobile advertising. The rates of ad earnings per mobile user is much, much lower than per desktop users. If that continues to be true and if mobile does erode the old desktop/browser web model with a new mobile device and app model then Google's long term revenue stream is potentially threatened. I remain unconvinced that Android is the correct answer to Google's long term problems with mobile and I think they remain between a rock and hard place. I wonder if an ever deeper alliance with Apple might have been a better bet, but I understand that maybe Google thought it too risky because a rampant and dominant Apple might have screwed them eventually. Tough call.

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