Google CEO Streamlines Operations, Mirrors Apple

Google CEO Streamlines Operations, Mirrors Apple

Google’s CEO Larry Page has adopted several new leadership tactics since taking the reins this spring, streamlining his company to help it fare better in the mobile and online market.

Page, according to the New York Times, is slimming the 31,000-employee company into Apple-like shape, trimming hour-long meetings, axing weak projects and streamlining the executive decision-making process.

“Ever since taking over as CEO, I have focused much of my energy on increasing Google’s velocity and execution, and we’re beginning to see results,” Page said.

Most notably, Page engineered Google’s $12.5 billion Motorola deal, taking a page from rival Apple’s book by edging into the hardware business. The purchase, if approved by federal regulators, will also land Google 17,000 patents for use in defending its Android partners from Apple’s legal onslaught.

Page chopped 25 programs and projects, like Google’s Buzz social network and Google Labs, frustrating some employees who aren’t thrilled to have their projects end. But as co-founder Sergey Brin explained, “We don’t want to be left with a complicated array of good-but-not-great services.”

In addition to entering the hardware business and cutting various programs, Page is adopting an Apple-like method of decision-making rather than hashing everything out with chairman Eric Schmidt and Brin. The streamlined process may mean faster releases and quicker turnarounds if products and services aren’t up to par.

“It’s much more of a style like Steve Jobs than the three-headed monster that Google was,” said a former Google executive. “Larry is much more willing to make an O.K. decision and make it now, rather than a perfect decision later.”

Page took over for Google’s then-CEO Eric Schmidt in April and has been trying to get his $27.3 billion company back on track ever since.

For example, Page tied the success of Google+ to employees’ salaries, a measure perhaps partly responsible for the new social network’s over 40 million users in the third quarter. Google+ has yet to come close to rival Facebook’s nearly 800 million users, but with an energized Page at the helm it may have a strong chance.

Page’s Motorola deal may put Google ahead in the mobile hardware business, though it risks angering other Android partners. But he is working to prevent this possibility, sending Schmidt to reassure Samsung and HTC during an Asian visit that Google will continue to support them despite its Motorola venture.

Under Page’s command, Google is still a work in progress, but with time his leadership may help the company sail faster into profitable social networking and mobile directions.

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