Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Larry Page Is Speechless, Literally — And Won’t Be Onstage at I/O Next Week

Google CEO Larry Page has lost his voice, said Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt today.

Page, who is already well known for his reluctance to speak publicly, skipped today’s annual stockholder meeting. Schmidt was left to explain his absence.

Schmidt said Page would likely miss his next two expected engagements while he is resting his voice: Google I/O — the company’s big three-day developer conference in San Francisco next week — and the company’s quarterly earnings call next month.

An extra chair was left open onstage throughout today’s presentation (see picture), as if the decision for Page not to attend happened at the last minute.

A Google source noted that Page’s voice had sounded a bit rough in recent appearances; for instance, see this video of a speech he made in London in May.

A Google spokeswoman declined to comment further on Page’s condition.

Also at the meeting, Google stockholders approved the company’s plan to introduce a new class of non-voting stock, though the change won’t happen until a class action lawsuit over the matter is resolved.

Schmidt, accompanied by ads head Susan Wojcicki and CFO Patrick Pichette, answered audience questions about Android fragmentation, mobile advertising, integrating Motorola, Google+ authentication and other topics.

Pichette made a notable defense of the Motorola acquisition, saying that criticism that Google doesn’t know what it’s getting into in the hardware business is off base.

Because Google builds its own servers, the company “is actually one of the largest hardware manufacturers in the world,” Pichette said.

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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus