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Key Questions for Google's New CEO Larry Page

When the world's most powerful company gets a new CEO for the first time in a decade, everyone naturally has a lot of questions.


  • When new Google CEO Larry Page decides to become accessible to people outside the insular Googleplex, here are some key questions to ask Mr. Page about: priorities, management philosophy, privacy, antitrust, intellectual property, and social responsibility.




  • External Relations: Is your first decision as Google's new CEO -- to initially do no media interviews or public appearances -- meant to be symbolic of your attitude towards openness, accessibility, transparency and accountability to Google's public constituencies?
    • Over time will you endeavor to be as publicly open and accessible to the media, investors, customers, partners, and government agencies as your predecessor Eric Schmidt was, and if not, does that mean Mr. Schmidt was too publicly accessible in your view, or that external constituencies' interests are less important to you than they were to Mr. Schmidt?
  • Your "Start-Up" Goal: Is your reported signature goal as CEO -- to make Google more like a start-up with faster decision making and less management layers -- conducive with Google's apparent need to be more mindful and respectful of privacy, antitrust, security and intellectual property liabilities?
    • In other words, will your executives responsible for privacy, antitrust, security and IP compliance get more time, attention, and support to anticipate and prevent potential problems for the public under your CEO leadership -- or less?
    • Put another way, will you lead Google to "double down" on your uber-ambitious, "think big," don't-ask-for-permission, ask-for-forgiveness, "change the world" business approach that has led to unprecedented privacy, antitrust, security, and intellectual property public policy problems?
    • Lastly on this point, is it responsible for a publicly-traded, Fortune 100 company, with over a billion users, and most all of the world's advertisers and web-publishers as clients, to operate like a "start-up" that has nobody really depending on it?
  • Is promoting a start-up innovation environment at Google more or less important than respecting privacy and security of users, resolving Google's substantial antitrust and property infringement liabilities in the marketplace, and/or delivering value for public shareholders?


Management Philosophy:


  • Focus: As CEO, will you bring focus to Google's business or will you continue your grand strategy to be the dominant Internet one-stop-shop offering most every Internet product or service users could demand?
  • Customer Service: Will you continue Google's policy of avoiding customer service because people and human interaction do not scale well in your view?
  • Strategy: Do you believe Google is best served by fighting and winning vindication in the dozens of pending antitrust, property, and privacy investigations and lawsuits against Google or by settling them?
  • Eric Schmidt: Why is it not good form on the day one officially assumes the CEO position of a very public company, to publicly acknowledge and thank your longtime predecessor CEO for all his contributions in a public statement or blog post?
    • Does loud silence imply something was amiss in the leadership transition that Google is not disclosing?


  • Priorities: Is the public's need for openness and transparency more or less important than the need for protecting individuals' privacy?
  • FTC Settlement: Will the FTC's recent landmark Privacy enforcement action against Google change how Google operates in any way?
  • Do Not TracK: As the Internet's only omni-tracker of most all of most Internet users' activities, what is Google's position on Do Not Track legislation in Congress and in California?
    • Is Google's Do Not Track legislative position that it should be OK for "first party" sites like Google to track users, but not for "third party" entities, self-serving and just a clever regulatory scheme for Google to escape tracking regulation while applying it only to Google's competitors?
  • Freedom of speech: Do you agree with your European privacy counsel that the EU's efforts to protect EU citizens' privacy are censorship an unacceptable limit of Google's freedom of speech?
  • Privacy policy: Why were you so personally opposed to putting a link to Google's privacy policy on Google's homepage as required by law?
  • The Page Effect: Why have so many projects you have overseen -- like Google Buzz, Street View WiSpy, Google Books, and Gmail, all resulted in serious privacy problems?



  • Monopoly: Is Google a monopoly? If not why not? If yes, does this mean Google has any special obligations to not impede competition?
  • Conspiracy? What responsibility does Google bear for the plethora of antitrust problems it faces in the EU and U.S., or is it most all the fault of the vast anti-Google conspiracy that doesn't understand Google would never undermine the trust of users?
  • Microsoft: What do you think of Microsoft's antitrust charges against Google?
  • Self-Dealing: Is Google's ranking of its own products and services #1 in its search results fair or anti-competitive?

  • Contextual Discovery: How are Google's new contextual discovery plans to push information to users that they don't request, not a direct profound conflict of interest with Google's pledge of an unbiased search service?


Intellectual Property:



  • Google Books: If your idea of Google Books was in fact doing good and being fair in copying 15 million books without permission to create the world's first universally accessible library, why did most all publishers and authors sue Google, the Governments' of the U.S., France and Germany oppose Google, and Judge Chin block the Google Book Settlement?

  • Android: If Android is indeed based on open source code and represents bonafide Google innovation, why is Google being sued independently by Apple, Oracle, Microsoft, Skyhook Wireless, and a French company?

Social Responsibility:



  • Wikileaks: Why was it the right thing to do to publicly index all the secret national security, private information and proprietary documents stolen by Wikileaks?
  • Don't be evil: Can you explain how you square Google's 'Don't be evil' motto with Google's record on privacy, security, antitrust and property issues?
  • Philanthropy: will Google continue to run its philanthropic arm, as a for-profit entity to avoid normal philanthropic disclosure and transparency requirements?
  • Taxes: Will Google continue to push the foreign tax avoidance envelope to pay the least foreign tax rate, ~2.4%, of any major tech company?
  • EEO: Why does Google consider its Equal Employment Opportunity record of hiring women, African Americans and Hispanics to be a trade secret and not worthy of public transparency?



See previous post: Larry Page's Biggest Challenges as Google CEO.