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Former Google CEO 'screwed up' on Facebook threat

Sydney Morning Herald | June 1, 2011
If he had a another chance, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt would have pressed the internet search leader to focus more on mounting a challenge to Facebook while he was still running the company.

Google used the D: All Things conference conference to announce the launch of another networking service that will offer discounts from restaurants and other merchants if enough people agree to buy the coupons. The service, called "Google Offers", is based on the daily deals offered by Groupon, which Google unsuccessfully tried to buy last year. Google's offers initially will be available only in Portland, Oregon, before expanding to New York and the San Francisco Bay area later this year in the US. The offers are part of a new mobile payment service Google unveiled last week.

Schmidt views Google and Facebook as part of a powerful "gang of four" that's building influential platforms for selling a variety of products and services to consumers. The others, according to Schmidt, are iPhone and iPad maker Apple and the web's biggest retailer,

Apple once had a close relationship with Google, but Schmidt said things have gotten "rough" between the companies since Google introduced its Android software for mobile phones in 2008. The intensifying competition prompted Schmidt to resign from Apple's board of directors in 2009.

Although he no longer is involved in day-to-operations, Schmidt said he remains a close adviser to Page and is consulted on all key decisions. He spends most of his time traveling to meet with customers, scouting potential acquisitions and meeting government regulators who have been scrutinising the company's business practices and privacy policies

It's a role that Schmidt, 56, indicated he expects to fill for the rest of his career. He even joked he would like to still be working at Google after he dies if the company could develop the technology to make that possible.

By serving as Google's public ambassador, Schmidt said Page can concentrate on Facebook and other internal issues

"Larry is pretty busy sitting in his office from 9am. to 10pm going through product reviews," Schmidt said.


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