Google shocked the tech world and Wall Street Thursday by announcing that co-founder Larry Page is replacing Eric Schmidt as CEO, effective April 4. Page was Google's first chief executive but he and fellow cofounder Sergey Brin prompted jokes about 20-something entrepreneurs needing "parental supervision" and, in 2001, the young pair brought in the more seasoned (and older) Schmidt to help run the company. Now, a decade later, "day-to-day adult supervision [is] no longer needed!" joked Schmidt, who will stay on as executive chairman, on Twitter. Is Page ready to retake the helm? (Watch an AP report about the Google shakeup)
It's past time to give Page back the reins: Google "blossomed" under Schmidt's guidance, but "Page is clearly ready and eager to run the show again," says The Economist. If anything, this move should have happened sooner. The "unconventional" leadership "triumvirate" of Schmidt, Page, and Brin worked fine for a while, but Google now needs one guy in charge who can make "swift decisions on product matters," and Page fits the bill.
"Google turns a new Page"
Why mess with a good thing? Putting Page in charge "could go down as a management blunder of historic proportions," says Juan Carlos Perez in Computerworld. With Google reporting "yet another blockbuster quarter," why risk discovering that Page isn't "up to the mammoth task of running such a large, powerful, and increasingly diverse company?" It's hard to shake the feeling that Google "is trying to fix something that isn't broken."
"Google's CEO switch could be a risky move"
Really, what's different? The shift in titles sounds dramatic, but it's not clear that much will really change, says Brian Barrett in Gizmodo. "Schmidt will actually continue fulfilling most of his 'adult' duties," and Page has always been "deeply involved" in steering the company, only now he's probably "outgrown some of his immaturity." So in the short-term, this shakeup means "nothing"; in the long term, expect "more risks — with bigger successes and failures," at a faster pace.
"What does Google's new boss mean for you?"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- How our botched understanding of 'science' ruins everything
- How Scotland's independence movement lost the vote and still won everything
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Mike Huckabee's head-scratching advice to Christian voters
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- Adrian Peterson and our misguided debate about spanking
- The science of sex: 4 harsh truths about dating and mating
- The American middle class is no longer safe from poverty — and that might be a good thing
- The Tea Party has its own immigration problem: Cuba
Subscribe to the Week