Google CEO Page: Apple’s strategy hurts users most of all

Dec 11, 2012
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Google CEO Page: Apple’s strategy hurts users most of all

Google CEO Larry Page has voiced his frustration over Apple's attempts to block the search giant's development, as well as the increasing "island-like approach" which leaves users suffering in individual silos of service. "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" Page told Fortune, suggesting that Google's goal is "to make our products be available as widely as we can" and that "sometimes we're allowed to do that" by competitors such as Apple, and "sometimes we're not."

That tendency for other companies to block Google isn't just a hinderance to the company itself, Page argues, but a kick to users. Echoing the unofficial company motto that Google simply wants to make things better for the world, Page suggests closed-ecosystems - presumably like iTunes and the iOS App Store - are counter to the original ethos of the internet.

"All the big technology companies are big because they did something great. I'd like to see more cooperation on the user side. The Internet was made in universities and it was designed to interoperate. And as we've commercialized it, we've added more of an island-like approach to it, which I think is a somewhat a shame for users.

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" Larry Page, CEO, Google

Nonetheless, Page is enthusiastic about Google's progress, even in areas where the company has been criticized for falling short such as Google+. Speaking of the social networking upstart - which, Google announced last week, now has 235m active users - the CEO argued that critics have been too swift to slam Google+'s potential.

"We had 18 different ways of sharing stuff before we did Plus. Now we have one way that works well, and we're improving" Page suggests. "Part of this is you have to interact with it and you have to claim your name and make it work for you. And so I think for me I didn't have any issues around that. I think that people weren't focused on the long-term."

That long-term involves not looking to competitors but instead trying to out-guess the future. Page namechecks high-profile projects such as Google Glass and the self-driving cars, but suggests that sort of imagination is vital for even mainstream services like search:

"In general I think there's a tendency for people to think about the things that exist. Our job is to think of the thing you haven't thought of yet that you really need. And by definition, if our competitors knew that thing, they wouldn't tell it to us or anybody else" Larry Page


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