Google’s co-founders on how they nearly sold the company, how they differ from Apple & more

In a ‘fireside chat’ with leading venture capitalist Vinod Khosla, Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin talked about the moment they thought they’d sold the company to him for $1.6M.

There were four of us at the time – four grad students at Stanford. I remember, we fired off this note to Vinod. It was just a little e-mail that said, “We really don’t want to sell, but for $1.6 million, you got a deal.” And a few minutes later, we got a reply that said, “That’s a lot of dough, but ok we’ll do it.” That’s characteristic Vinod there. So then, ten minutes later, Scott – one of the four of us – comes running in, laughing. Huge grin on his face. He had faked the reply and back then, the ethics around faking emails weren’t quite the same. Anyway, so he had that big joke. The deal obviously never came to fruition, and we went our own way to build search …

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Steve Jobs went all Steve Jobs on Andy Rubin, calling him a “big, arrogant f***”

Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs points to a member of the audience during a Q&A session at the end of the iPhone OS4 special event at Apple headquarters in Cupertino

Steve Jobs isn’t exactly a man known for keeping his thoughts to himself which is why excerpts found by Business Insider from a new book documenting the Google-Apple smartphone war are grabbing attention. According to the book written by Fred Vogelstein, Google was already working on its first Android-powered smartphone when Apple introduced the iPhone in 2007.

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Still smarting from Java suit loss, Larry Ellison calls Google CEO Larry Page evil

Photo: dailymail.co.uk

Photo: dailymail.co.uk

Larry Ellison is apparently still smarting from the court battle he lost back in May of last year when he accused Google of copyright infringement over its use of Java in Android, lost and ended up paying Google’s $4M court costs.

Oracle bought Java from Sun Microsystems, and claimed ownership of some of the code used by Google. Google argued that the small amount of replicated code was ‘fair use’ and that the rest of it was coded from scratch simply using similar approaches to Java. Oracle lost.

In an interview with CBS’s Charlie Rose, transcribed in Business Insider, Ellison accuses Page of violating Google’s company slogan, Don’t be evil. Transcript below the fold …  Read more

Former Apple ad man Ken Segall says Apple’s advertising has lost momentum to Samsung

In the video above, Bloomberg West speaks with 72andSunny’s partner and creative director Jason Norcross about the thinking behind some of Samsung’s latest campaigns. 

If there is one person qualified to discuss the state of Apple’s current marketing efforts, it’s Ken Segall. Working alongside Steve Jobs’ creative team for more than a decade, Segall, the man who put the “i” in iMac, served as creative director at ad agency TBWA\Chiat\Day. He created some of Apple’s most iconic ads such as the legendary Think Different campaign. Segall took some time on his Observatory blog today to share his thoughts on how “momentum has been lost” for Apple’s marketing department at the hands of none other than the company’s biggest rival, Samsung:

While you can still argue that Macs and i-devices have a ton of appeal, you can’t argue that Apple is still untouchable when it comes to advertising…The fact is, it is being touched — often and effectively — by none other than Samsung…Samsung has made remarkable inroads in a very short time, for two big reasons.

According to Segall, the two big reasons Samsung’s advertising has eclipsed Apple’s is due to Sammy’s massive advertising budget and willingness to “bash away at Apple, delivering ads that are well produced, well written and seem to be striking a nerve.” Specifically, Segall pointed to Samsung’s decision to run creative new ads at the Super Bowl and Oscars:  Read more

Court docs reveal email exchange between Eric Schmidt and Steve Jobs over poaching employees

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Earlier this month, a U.S. District Judge in California ordered Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, Apple CEO Tim Cook, and others to give depositions in an ongoing private lawsuit. Employees brought on the private lawsuit alleging  “no-poach” agreements the companies entered would drive down wages. Today, new details have emerged after a request to keep court documents secrets was denied by U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh.

While emails exchanged between Steve Jobs and former Palm CEO Ed Colligan have been the focus on the documents, The Verge also pointed us to emails exchange between Jobs and Google execs. Below we have an email form Jobs to Schmidt asking to put a stop to Google recruiting employees from its iPod team, as well as one where Schmidt discussed not wanting to create a paper trail: Read more

Google Chairman talks Android, Maps and Apple

Google’s executive chairman Eric Schmidt sat down for an AllThingsD talk last night with Walt Mossberg. Among other topics, they not-surprisingly discussed Android and his thoughts on Apple. Much of the talk centered around Schmidt’s thoughts on the Android-Apple platform fight, which he called “the defining fight in the industry today.” He also noted there is a “huge race specifically between Apple and the Android platform for additional features,” and he commented on Apple’s Maps situation:

The Android-Apple platform fight is the defining contest. Here’s why: Apple has thousands of developers building for it. Google’s platform, Android, is even larger. Four times more Android phones than Apple phones. 500 million phones already in use. Doing 1.3 million activations a day. We’ll be at 1 billion mobile devices in a year.

At the 17:30 mark, Schmidt began to talk about Apple’s new Maps app controversy: “Apple should have kept with our maps”…
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Larry Page will miss Google I/O and Q2 earnings call due to health, analyst questions excuse [Video]

One Wall Street analyst is calling into question Google’s co-founder, Larry Page, and his health, due to the executive’s notable absence from the company shareholders’ meeting on Thursday.

Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, who bequeathed his CEO title to Page in April 2011, told shareholders that the chief executive “lost his voice.” Schmidt further revealed Page would not attend the Google I/O developer conference next week or Google’s Q2 earnings call next month (as seen in the video above). Page will, however, maintain his post duties and continue an active role at Google while his voice recuperates over the next few weeks.

According to Canada.com, a Google representative explained that Page was “asked to rest.” No more information on the CEO’s mysterious voice condition is available at this time, but JP Morgan analyst Doug Anmuth debated Google’s excuse for Page in a note to investors today:

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Google criticizes Thai Courts for giving Web master 1-year suspended prison sentence over forum comment

Google just denounced a Thai court sentence regarding an Internet forum Web master who received a one-year suspended prison sentence this morning for comments posted by users that offended the Thai royal family.

According to The New York Times, Prachatai [translated] is a popular Thailand-based forum about politics and culture, and its Web master, Chiranuch Premchaiporn, was found guilty of lèse-majesté (royal insults) under the country’s Computer Crimes Act. Interestingly, she did not write the libelous comments in question, but only managed the website that hosted them.

“Telephone companies are not penalized for things people say on the phone, and responsible Web site owners should not be punished for comments users post on their sites — but Thailand’s Computer Crimes Act is being used to do just that,” said Google spokesperson Taj Meadows to The New York Times.

Kampol Rungrat ruled that Premchaiporn was liable for at least one defamatory comment that remained visible for 20 days. The judge noted prosecutors could not prove she supported the comment, and it is unreasonable to expect a Web master to remove comments immediately, but it is still a duty under law. The judge found that leaving the contemptous comment live for such an extended period was beyond reasonable.

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New Google+ Local tab features Zagat ratings, opinions from friends in circles [Video]

It is no secret that Google touts social as important, and the search engine is reiterating that focus today by announcing a new social feature combined with local search: Google+ Local.

“Today, we’re rolling out Google+ Local, a simple way to discover and share local information featuring Zagat scores and recommendations from people you trust in Google+,” explained Google’s Director of Product Management Avni Shah on the Official Google Blog.  

Users can search for places under the “Local” tab on the left-hand side of Google+, and once they select a place, they will find a local Google+ page equipped with photos, Zagat scores and summaries, reviews from people in their circles, and other related information.

Google+ Local also integrates with Search, Maps, and mobile, so it can streamline the experience across Google. It is rolling out now, including to Android and iOS, so as Shah put it, “if you don’t have it yet feel free to begin furiously refreshing your browser.”

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Google invests $300M in Iowa data center

Google is constructing a data center in Council Bluffs, Iowa, which would bring the Mountain View, Calif.-based Company’s total investments in the town to nearly $1 billion.

According to the Associated Press, the search engine said the $300 million data center would add 50 new jobs to the area ranging from computer repair to logistics. Construction on the 1,000-acre project is slated to begin immediately; although, details regarding an end-date are not confirmed.

“Google’s secure data centers are some of the most energy efficient in the world,” explained Google on its Date Centers website. “Each year we save millions of dollars on energy costs, and we use renewable energy whenever we can.”

Google invested $600 million in another Iowa data enter three-years-ago to support an array of its services like Search, Maps, and Gmail. The technical plant spurred 200 new jobs, and Operations Manager for the Council Bluffs Google data center Chris Russell said Google intends to use its latest investment for the same purposes.

“We are glad to be in Iowa, and Google’s future here is very bright,” said Russell to the AP.

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Google CEO Larry Page says Steve Jobs’ fury over Android was just to rally troops

In a recent interview with Bloomberg Businessweek, Google’s Chief Executive Officer Larry Page talked at length about his new role as chief and his plans for the future of Android, Motorola, and the rest of the company. Much the interview revolved around Android and Google’s relationship with other companies, and Page was asked about his relationship with Steve Jobs towards the end. He was also asked about the state of Android tablets and his thoughts on Apple’s recently announced dividend.

When the interviewer mentioned Google and Jobs had their “differences” about Android, presumably referring to Jobs’ claims that Android is a “stolen product,” Page claimed Jobs’ anger towards Android/Google was “actually for show”:

I think the Android differences were actually for show. I had a relationship with Steve. I wouldn’t say I spent a lot of time with him over the years, but I saw him periodically. Curiously enough, actually, he requested that meeting. He sent me an e-mail and said: “Hey, you want to get together and chat?” I said, “Sure, I’ll come over.” And we had a very nice talk. We always did when we had a discussion generally… He was quite sick. I took it as an honor that he wanted to spend some time with me. I figured he wanted to spend time with his family at that point. He had a lot of interesting insights about how to run a company and that was pretty much what we discussed.

He continued when encouraged to elaborate on his “for show” comment:
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