Eric Schmidt blames himself for Google’s social struggles

1 Jun 2011

Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt has taken responsibility for the search company’s struggles to gain from social media.

Speaking at the D: All Things Digital conference, Schmidt said he had written memos four years ago highlighting that Google needed to address online identity but did not act on it.

“I clearly knew that I had to do something, and I failed to do it,” he said. “A CEO should take responsibility. I screwed up.”

Schmidt spoke of his admiration of the work Facebook did in this space.

“It’s the first generally available way of disambiguating identity,” said Schmidt.

“Historically, on the internet, such a fundamental service wouldn’t be owned by a single company. I think the industry would benefit from an alternative to that … Identity is incredibly useful because in the online world you need to know who you are dealing with.”

Schmidt also said that while Google tried to become a search partner with Facebook, the social networking service choose to strike a deal with Microsoft instead.

Gang of Four

Schmidt also identified the “Gang of Four” technology companies growing faster than ever, which included Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple.

Microsoft was notably omitted from the group, as Schmidt believes that the company no longer drives the consumer market. He acknowledged the success of the Xbox, but said it was “not a platform at the computational level.”

Schmidt said the majority of Microsoft’s profits came from corporate sales and pointed out that it shouldn’t feel safe in this area, either. Google has been competing with Microsoft in the enterprise space, particularly in regards to cloud-based services.