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Why Did Eric Schmidt Really Step Down as Google CEO?

Illustration for article titled Why Did Eric Schmidt iReally/i Step Down as Google CEO?

Ken Auletta wrote the book on Google. Literally. And according to his sources, a few things led to Eric Schmidt's departure as CEO. Like the decision to pull out of China.


The Google C.E.O. was upset a year ago when co-founder Larry Page sided with his founding partner, Sergey Brin, to withdraw censored searches from China. Schmidt did not hide his belief that Google should stay in the world's largest consumer marketplace ... Schmidt, according to associates, lost some energy and focus after losing the China decision.


Add in all of Google's troubles lately, like the insurgent Facebook, government entanglements, ballooning bureaucracy—and trying to bat down all of these troubles—and by "the end of the year, he was ready to jump on his own."

But just as interesting, maybe, as what Auletta reports about Schmidt is what he says about Larry Page, soon-to-be CEO. That a biography of Telsa he read when he was 12 ingrained in him the idea that being a great scientist isn't that great if you're a crappy businessman. That he hates regimented schedules, public speaking and "often in meetings looks down at his hand-held Android device." That he's going to have to change.

Read the whole thing here, the fascinating internal human machinations of the world's thinking engine: [The New Yorker]

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I personally think Schmidt would be a better CEO. The position needs a businessman, more than it needs a scientist.