Larry Page Declares He Is Above the Fray

Published on April 4, 2012
by Liz Gannes

Though outside observers who know Google very well describe Larry Page, in his first year back as CEO, as singularly impatient (Steven Levy) and “driven by his paranoia about Facebook” (Ken Auletta), Page offered a sort of serenity in a rare interview.

Speaking to Bloomberg Businessweek’s Brad Stone, Page said he didn’t think former Apple CEO Steve Jobs really meant what he said about going to “thermonuclear war” with Google over Android because it was a stolen product.

“I think the Android differences were actually for show,” Page said.

Page, in fact, is above the fray of mere earthly competition, he said.

“For a lot of companies, it’s useful for them to feel like they have an obvious competitor and to rally around that. I personally believe that it’s better to shoot higher. You don’t want to be looking at your competitors. You want to be looking at what’s possible and how to make the world better.”

Page did comment a little more directly on his competitors. He argued that Facebook declining to allow Google to import its friend lists — what’s been called “contact reciprocity” — is “completely unreasonable.” He also said Google+ is exceeding all expectations, and bragged that he has two million followers. And he said that suing people over patents is “a sad thing.”

Stone asked, why aren’t big tech companies like Apple, Facebook, Google and Amazon working together these days?

Because it’s hard and doesn’t often turn out that well, Page replied. For example, integrating Google Talk and AOL Instant Messaging was “a tremendous amount of technical effort” that he no longer believes was worth it.

Please see the disclosure about Facebook in my ethics statement.

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