Who do you think this best applies to, Steve Jobs or Eric Schmidt?
Over at Slate, Farhad Manjoo speculates that this might be the biggest problem in Google’s war with Apple.
People who know Eric respect his skills as a manager, and all uniformly proclaim that he’s a nice guy.
But in a cutthroat race to dominate the mobile market, which looks set to be bigger than the internet, “nice” is not enough. What you need is cutthroat.
All the most successful chief executives we know — besides Steve Jobs, we’re thinking of Jack Welch, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, and Andy Grove — tend to be, if not always “cutthroat”, at the very least, monomaniacally obsessed with their business and their success. None of the Google (GOOG) triumvirate seem that way to us.
And this makes a huge difference. There are plenty of low-hanging fruit things that Google could do to fix their Android platform and bridge the gap with the iPhone. A 110% focused chief executive would probably have already fixed them.
In Eric’s favour is the fact that Google, as Manjoo points out, has a much longer term view than Apple (AAPL). What Apple wants is to sell more profitable phones. What Google wants is to own and define the mobile web. So Google may yet (and on current trends, likely will) have the last laugh.
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