Google shocked nearly everyone when it made the surprise announcement that it was reorganising itself into a conglomerate of companies called Alphabet last year, but the idea had been kicking around CEO Larry Page’s inner circle well before that.
According to a profile of Alphabet in Bloomberg, Page began offloading responsibilities for Google’s core business to Sundar Pichai in 2014 and assembled his own group of close advisers to tackle wild ideas and new areas for Google to explore.
Page called the group Javelin, according to the Bloomberg profile, where he came up with wild ideas like creating smart cities, which eventually became the Alphabet company Footpath Labs.
In addition to crazy ideas though, Javelin laid the groundwork for a conglomeration of individual tech and science companies under the Alphabet umbrella. The goal of Javelin, and eventually Alphabet, was to stop divisions within Google from essentially competing with each other and force each various “Other Bets” that operate with their own goals, executives, and budgets, according to the Bloomberg profile.
But a year in, things have been pretty rocky at Alphabet, as several of these Other Bets have shown signs of turmoil. Several top Alphabet execs have left the company, including former Nest CEO Tony Fadell, GV CEO Bill Maris, and many more. And at least one Alphabet company, Google Fibre, has seen its plans cut back significantly by Alphabet’s leadership.
The theme at Alphabet over the last year has been that CFO Ruth Porat is tightening funding on companies under her purview that can’t demonstrate a path to profitability.
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