The Most Interesting Section of the Fortune Interview of Larry Page

Miguel Helft, in an interview with Google’s CEO Larry Page, has one of the most humorous back and forths I have read in a while:

So in light of that, Apple’s still a partner. It’s a competitor. You and Steve Jobs were friendly.
At times.
At times. You said that whole thing about Android and them being angry about it, that it was for show.
I didn’t say that entirely. I said partly.
[Apple did it] partly for show, to get the troops to rally
By the way, that’s something I try not to do. I don’t like to rally my company in that way because I think that if you’re looking at somebody else, you’re looking at what they do now, and that’s not how again you stay two or three steps ahead.
So Apple obviously is a huge distribution partner for some of your services. How is the relationship?
What I was trying to say was I think it would be nice if everybody would get along better and the users didn’t suffer as a result of other people’s activities. I try to model that. We try pretty hard to make our products be available as widely as we can. That’s our philosophy. I think sometimes we’re allowed to do that. Sometimes we’re not.

There’s a couple really fantastic things being brought to light here that I want to point out:

  1. Page [wisely] won’t directly answer the questions about Google’s relationship with Apple. Yet it is clear from his answers that the relationship is strained and he sounds frustrated by that. “I said partly.” Is the phrase I would point to to back this up — what a passive aggressive answer by Page. This is the one thing that drives me crazy about most CEOs: they refuse to talk straight. Page doesn’t have to answer, but if you’re not going to answer, why not just say that instead of dancing around words with bullshit phrases.
  2. I love this statement by Page: “We try pretty hard to make our products be available as widely as we can.” I love that statement because it is a direct contradiction of reports that Google demanded a large share in order to get Turn by Turn navigation in the iOS maps application. Yes, Google should make money, but Page waxes on in this entire interview about “greater good” bullshit, sharing, and when it comes down to it money still matters.

Want proof that money matters a lot to Google? Here, from Page:

I think there’s no company you would choose that would be better positioned to transition and innovate in mobile advertising and monetization. We’ve got all the pieces we need to do that going forward.

I’d agree, and in that light this statement from Page should scare the crap out of users of Google:

The fact that a phone has a location is really helpful for monetization.

I bet.

Originally posted for members on: December 11, 2012
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