Chief executive officer Stories May 21, 2012

Ex-Google board member Michael Moritz cuts Sequoia involvement due to ‘incurable disease’

Michael Moritz, a former member of Google’s Board of Directors, announced today that he is stepping down from his managing partner post at venture firm Sequoia Capital due to an incurable disease.

He will now become a chairman at the top-tier firm that has backed many startups-turned-goldmines in the last 20 years, including Google, PayPal, and Yahoo. The title change will curtail daily activity involvement so Moritz can focus on living a full life while beating the odds.

The letter Moritz sent to limited partners this morning is below (via TechCrunch):

  • Dear …,
  • We have always tried to be straightforward with you and, in that spirt, I need to share something. Unfortunately, I have been diagnosed with a rare medical condition which can be managed but is incurable. I’ve been told that in the next five to ten years the quality of my life is quite likely to decline. Right now I feel fitter than ever and I hope that I’ll be one of the lucky ones who can live a full life and defy the statisticians. But there is no way of predicting this with certainty and thus for me, life has assumed a different meaning and I am making some adjustments.
  • I am going to extract myself from the daily management of Sequoia Capital, a task that has consumed a large part of my time for the past sixteen years. I will become Chairman of Sequoia Capital and will be deeply involved with nurturing the fresh investments, ideas and relationships that can be of significant long-term benefit for all of us. I will also work very closely with some of our younger and newer members, will continue my role as Managing Member of existing funds and maintain all my current company responsibilities. I will use twelve to fourteen weeks – sprinkled throughout the course of each year – for various pursuits, diversions and trivial indulgences.
  • Nothing about this should cause much of a change because everything that has been achieved at Sequoia Capital has resulted from the teamwork and contribution of many people. Our overall business is in the best shape it has ever been and we are better positioned than at any time in our forty year history. Doug Leone will assume full responsibility for coordinating the business we have gradually developed over the past couple of decades and almost everything else remains entirely the same.
  • Thanks for your support,
  • Michael Moritz

Chief executive officer Stories April 17, 2012

According to a report from Foss Patents (and confirmed by Reuters), Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook and Samsung Chief Executive Officer Gee-Sung Choi will meet within the next 90 days for settlement talks over ongoing patent disputes. Judge Lucy Koh, who is presiding over the two cases in California, initiated the meeting after ordering the companies to submit their CEOs and legal counsels to an Alternative Dispute Resolution.

“As directed by the Court, Apple and Samsung are both willing to participate in a Magistrate Judge Settlement Conference with Judge Spero as mediator. At Apple, the chief executive officer and general counsel are the appropriate decision-makers, and they will represent Apple during the upcoming settlement discussions. At Samsung, the chief executive officer and general counsel are also the appropriate decision-makers, and they will represent Samsung during these settlement discussions.”

The report called the talks “semi-voluntary,” because the companies did not have to submit to the Alternative Dispute Resolution. However, as pointed out by Foss Patents, “if only one of them had made the CEO available, the other one would have appeared to be less than constructive.” Apple and Samsung executives will meet in San Francisco with U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph C. Spero sometime over the next three months: expand full story

Chief executive officer Stories April 5, 2012

On the Google Investor Relations website, Google’s Chief Executive Officer Larry Page just published his “2012 Update from the CEO” to give an update on the state of the company since taking over as chief and “reorganizing the management team” around the company’s core products.

In the letter, Page talks a lot about one of his biggest efforts during the last year: Google+. While noting, “We have a long way to go,” he said the service now has 100 million active users and the company has implemented more than 120 Google+ integrations with services like search and Android.

Last April, I began by reorganizing the management team around our core products to improve responsibility and accountability across Google. I also kicked off a big clean-up. Google has so many opportunities that, unless we make some hard choices, we end up spreading ourselves too thin and don’t have the impact we want. So we have closed or combined over 30 products, including projects like Knol and Sidewiki. In addition, we gave many of our products, such as Google Search, a visual refresh, and they now have a cleaner, more consistent, and beautiful look.

Addressing concerns over changes made to privacy policies and search in recent months that have “generated a lot of interest,” Page explained the company’s incentive to “do the right thing”:

We have always wanted Google to be a company that is deserving of great love. But we recognize this is an ambitious goal because most large companies are not well-loved, or even seemingly set up with that in mind. We’re lucky to have a very direct relationship with our users, which creates a strong incentive for us to do the right thing… We have always believed that it’s possible to make money without being evil. In fact, healthy revenue is essential if we are to change the world through innovation, and hire (and retain) great people..

The full letter is below…

expand full story

Everyone can use an Echo Dot: Just $50!

Chief executive officer Stories April 4, 2012

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: expand full story

Chief executive officer Stories May 31, 2011

More trouble in Microsoft land as Bloomberg reports that Microsoft device manufacturers are complaining about the software giant’s meddling in their affairs:

Microsoft Corp.  is putting “troublesome” restrictions on makers of processors used to run the coming Windows tablet-computer operating system, Acer Inc.  Chairman and Chief Executive Officer J.T. Wang said.

“They’re really controlling the whole thing, the whole process,” Wang said at the Computex trade show in Taipei without identifying the restrictions. Chip suppliers and PC makers “all feel it’s very troublesome,” he said.

Can you even imagine a PC manufacturer standing up to Microsoft publicly in a pre-iPad world?  While Acer is moving to Google for many of their tablet products, and even ChromeOS for one of their notebooks, Acer is still one of the three biggest Windows PC manufacturers on the planet and of course is expected to make Windows 8 slatesexpand full story

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