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Larry Page says that when you're obsessed with the present you're not looking ahead to the future

"We're still 1 percent to where we should be. I feel a deep sense of responsibility to try to move things along. Not enough people are focused on big change. Part of what I'm trying to do is take Google as a case study and really scale our ambition such that we are able to cause more positive change in the world and more technological change."

"I have a deep feeling that we are not even close to where we should be."

I. Google -- Doing Its Own Thing

Those sound like the words of a CEO of a company struggling technologically.  But surprisingly the come from Larry Page, the current CEO of Google Inc. (GOOG) -- the maker of the world's most used search engine, most used online advertising service, and most used smartphone operating system platform.

In a new interview with Fortune, Mr. Page emphasizes Google's philosophy on how it differs from competitors.  He says that most rivals who have issues with Google are more worried about themselves than their end users, where as at Google it's all about providing the best experience for the end user, which is built on the premise of openness.  By providing Google services on as many platforms as possible (even those of arch-nemesis Apple, Inc. (AAPL)), Mr. Page says customers will have access to the best options on the market.

As for Apple locking out Google Maps and other apps from iOS 6, he simply comments, "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."

Larry Page
Google CEO Larry Page [Image Source: Bloomberg BusinessWeek]

The CEO accuses Apple (and its late CEO Steven P. Jobs) as being overly fixated on Google.  Reiterating his comments from a previous interview, he says that Apple's legal campaign against Google is partly to rally the company against its competitor.

But he says that if you're fixated on your competitor, you're not looking forward at your own future.  He remarks, "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."

To him, Google has no real "competitors".  He comments, "I feel my job is mostly getting people not to think about our competition. In general I think there's a tendency for people to think about the things that exist."

II. Risky Efforts are Important to Software Giant

The interviewer asks about Google's so-called "70-20-10 model" in which 70 percent of the company's spending is devoted to search/advertising, 20 percent is devoted to apps (like Google Docs), and 10 percent is devoted to experimental efforts (like self-driving cars and Project Glass).

He says that Google still mostly follows that model, but that some projects fall on the border of categories.  He comments, "So where would you put Android? It's probably in the 70 in terms of impact -- the monetization is at an early stage."

As for Google Plus, he says the social network is faring "pretty well" and is "improving".  He suggests that with Plus and other services users may not have received quite what they initially expected, but that Google's philosophy is that users must get accustomed to services before making judgements.

Google Plus
Page is optimistic about Google Plus. [Image Source: Google]

As for how long he will remain CEO at Google (Eric Schmidt was chief for 10 years), he says, "I don't know. It seems impossible to predict."

Source: Fortune

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RE: Well said
By ltcommanderdata on 12/11/2012 7:06:38 PM , Rating: 1
I'm curious which technological curve are you referring to?

Apple custom designs their own mobile CPU architecture which from Anand's reports seems comparable if not better than Qualcomm's Krait in performance and energy efficiency, despite it being their first design versus Qualcomm's years of experience. Absolute performance is below Cortex A15, but Anand feels it's more power efficient. Apple has very strong GPU performance in both smartphone and tablet. Apple's displays in the flagship iPad and iPhone are still right up there in pixel density, color gamut, and color accuracy. LTE, 5GHz WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0 are all present and perform well. Their cameras are well rated.

For Macs, there doesn't seem to be much competition against Apple's successive push to standardize on HiDPI displays in laptops. Apple's actually ahead of the GPU makers themselves with HiDPI support since Anand reported Apple had to re-implement parts of the graphics pipeline in software themselves since current GPU hardware is lacking certain features Apple needs. Intel's Ultrabook program was a response to the success of Apple's MacBook Air. Apple never took part in PC maker's notbook push which turned out to be a dead end. That's hardly Apple being behind the technological curve. iMacs can actually offer faster CPU/GPU options than competing all-in-ones. Admittedly all-in-ones aren't for everyone, but overall the Mac market is growing while the overall PC market is shrinking so Apple is hardly wide of the mark.

It's not like a larger smartphone display is some technological leap that puts Apple far behind. Neither is NFC some technological game-changer. I can see the argument that Apple could price their products more aggressively or that iOS software could use bigger changes against the competition, but Apple's products having some technological chasm behind the competition?

RE: Well said
By Guspaz on 12/11/2012 8:14:52 PM , Rating: 3
Apple's hardware is generally more advanced than most other devices in most categories. It's hard to dispute that, love them or hate them. It's pretty rare that it isn't an Apple smartphone topping the graphics benchmarks, for example. But that aspect of the hardware isn't really the most important thing; people aren't that aware of how fast the CPU or GPU is in a smartphone.

It's their software that they've having trouble with. That's what's falling behind, where they're being surpassed by the competition. And I'm saying this as somebody who has never owned anything but Apple smartphones. iOS is long overdue for some pretty substantial changes.

RE: Well said
By Jereb on 12/11/2012 11:38:16 PM , Rating: 4
Well actually it is easy to dispute that.
Apple's hardware for their laptops and desktop solutions are exactly the same as all others out there, and about twice the price.

They currently lead the pack in hardware in mobile solutions only.

RE: Well said
By maugrimtr on 12/12/2012 9:55:57 AM , Rating: 2
I find it ludicrious that people think Macs built using standard off-the-shelf components available to anyone on the market mysteriously produce faster products. They have no special advance deal with Intel, Nvidia, AMD or anyone else. You can indeed get an equally performing laptop for much less cash. It's almost hillarious watching other companies trying to replicate Apple's success by overcharging consumers and running afoul of basic economics.

Apple are also in a serious corner. Their share price has taken a beating in the face of obvious problems. Android is a serious competitor in mobile and it's entering the Tablet market alongside Windows (the iPhone 5 and mini iPad were clear indicators that Apple was under significant competitor pressure to "copy" ideas - pity nobody design patented the 6-8" tablet ;)). There also appears to be limited room for creating new novel markets. AppleTV? At a time when TVs are dirt cheap and their manufacturers are floundering?

The Apple stock price is looking more like a bubble of hopes and dreams every day.

RE: Well said
By Cannyone on 12/12/2012 1:54:25 PM , Rating: 3
When it comes to desktop computers Apple is typically well behind the power curve. They always choose mid-range components and then charge "high end" prices. Which Apple fans lap up like hungry kitties.

In the laptop market they have adopted displays that are higher resolution than is available for Windows laptops. But the rest of their design follows the same philosophy as the desktop brethren. So they actually aren't "superior" at all.

Now in the Mobile Market I understand that they are advanced and perform well. And this seems in part to be due to the software being tightly integrated (the technical term is really "qualified") to run with their hardware. But again Apple is using the very cheapest hardware they can get away with... Then they charge a premium price.

Now you may not agree with the above statements. And all I'm going to offer for proof is this article on Slashgear > So this is what I'm saying: They obviously don't sell more units. Androids beat them in the Mobile market and Windows PCs outsell them at least 8:1 in the desktop and laptop markets. So the only way they could make that profit is with the highest "margins" in the industry.

And that alone is the reason why, in the end, they will never dominate any market. Most people, a.k.a. the "uninformed masses, might like to own an Apple whatever but they can't afford it. Still I'm sure you Apple fans will continue to tell yourselves that their products are superior. And I understand that "our perception is our reality" so I won't give any further effort to convincing you otherwise. But "De-Nial" is not just a river in Egypt.

One last note: If you have Apple stock you should sell it while the price is still fairly high. Citi-Bank says its "dropped enough" but they probably have lots of that stock and they don't want you to sell yours before they do.

RE: Well said
By FITCamaro on 12/11/2012 10:44:43 PM , Rating: 2
With all that powerful hardware, it's to bad their idea of adequate cooling for it is to bleed it through their devices chassis into the user.

RE: Well said
By Autisticgramma on 12/12/2012 10:30:38 AM , Rating: 2
Wow FITC, we finally found something to agree on.

RE: Well said
By someguy123 on 12/11/2012 10:58:30 PM , Rating: 1
I agree with you about their phones. The iphones do have good hardware and superior GPU performance.

I don't support arbitrarily moving up in PPI standards, though. By arbitrary I mean producing high PPI monitors while performance overall suffers. In the macbooks case performance suffers greatly at native resolution even though the hardware is relatively good. Not the top tier but not scrolling webpages at 20fps levels of performance. At that point it becomes only useful for photography. Software can only do so much.

Going up in density doesn't make nearly as much sense as improving panel quality in general. They should pour that money into OLED development and adoption.

RE: Well said
By menting on 12/12/2012 9:03:03 AM , Rating: 2
you should probably clarify that a bit.
Apple does NOT custom design their own mobile CPU architecture. That would take YEARS to start from scratch and would take even more years to catch up. What they did was license the ARM technology (like other ARM cpu designers), and tweak it to fit their own needs. Also, it's not fair to compare to Krait, because Apple only has to tweak it to fit their own needs, and not for the general public which Qualcomm had to do with the Krait.

Same thing for the GPU: they licensed the IP for it.

RE: Well said
By HrilL on 12/12/12, Rating: 0
"Spreading the rumors, it's very easy because the people who write about Apple want that story, and you can claim its credible because you spoke to someone at Apple." -- Investment guru Jim Cramer

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