What Google’s Larry Page really said about Microsoft

larrypage

There were so many zingers and (and cease-and-desist orders) flying around between Microsoft and Google yesterday that it might have been hard to keep track. And some errant quotes in the live blogs from Google I/O conference didn’t help.

So what did Google CEO Larry Page actually say about Microsoft during the question-and-answer session at the event? We went back and watched the video to double-check. This was in response to a question from someone who works for Mozilla, who asked Page if the web could ultimately “subsume” individual operating systems such as Android and Chrome as the operating system for everything. Here’s what Page said:

We’ve been really excited about the web, obviously being birthed from it as a company. We’ve really invested a lot in the open standards behind that. I’ve personally been quite sad at the industry’s behavior around all these things. You just take something as simple as instant messaging. We’ve kind of had an offer forever that we’ll interoperate on instant messaging. Just this week, Microsoft took advantage of that by interoperating with us but not doing the reverse. Which is really sad, right? That’s not the way to make progress. You need to have interoperation, not just people milking off one company for their own benefit. I think Google has always stood for that. I’ve been sad that the industry hasn’t been able to advance those things, I think generally because of a focus on negativity and on zero-sum games.

We try to be on the right side of all those things. We also try to be practical, and look at what other people are doing, and not just rely on our principles to shoot ourselves in the foot, and our users in the process. I don’t know how to deal with all those things. I’m sad that the web is probably not advancing as fast as it should be. We certainly struggle with people like Microsoft. We’ve had a great relationship with Mozilla, I think, and value that deeply. I’d like to see more open standards, more people getting behind things that just work, and more companies involved in those ecosystems. …

In the very long term, I don’t think you should have to think about, as a developer, am I developing for this platform or another, or something like that. I think you should be able to work at a much higher level, and software you write should run everywhere, easily. … That’s how I think about it. It’s a very, very complex and important question.

John Gruber of Daring Fireball offers a critique of Page’s comments, as does Paul Thurrott of WindowsIT Pro.

Microsoft and Google have always been rivals, but the events of the past week amount to the gloves coming off. The next litmus test will be how Google proceeds with its objections to Microsoft’s YouTube app for Windows Phone 8.

  • Geek at heart

    Google is just good at deceiving everyone. They are the most “Evil” out of the tech giants. Microsoft did a great job of baiting them with the YouTube app though,

    I am still waiting for Google to receive the same treatment Microsoft received for their market share dominance back in the day. Google already has access to way to much user data and behavior. I cringe at a world dominated by Android and few device manufacturers. Google and Android are responsible for the current epidemic of dirt cheap garbage devices which are killing most of the device manufacturers. The only device manufacturer really making money off Android is Samsung. The rest are fighting to stay in the game at a loss…

    • http://twitter.com/Seattle_Startup Seattle Startup

      Haven’t met any small company that doesn’t cringe when they deal with Google — which they are forced to do. They are using the monopolistic position very effectively. Funny to read the founder pretending otherwise (though it does seem vaguely familiar here in Seattle).

    • guest

      A lot of truth there. But unfortunately Google has been very successful at avoiding serious antitrust action. The FTC dropped the ball entirely and the EU looks like they’re going to go easy as well.
      So at this point it seems unlikely that Google will ever face sanctions similar to what MS incurred.

  • William

    I thought something negative was said. All I see is the truth.
    I use Apple Macs, windows when I need to, google mail, google docs, google calendar, android phone – all work great.
    Microsoft is just sour grapes about everything these days. Just shrug it off and get something – anything – done. Please.
    MS does not even show up in tech dominancy articles from Economist, etc. these days – it’s all Amazon, FB, Apple and Google. If that is not sad, I don’t know what is.
    Stop whining. Start innovating, delivering “impossible” products at “ridiculously low” prices for the value. Not incremental stuff. This ain’t the 80s boys and girls, the world is no longer your oyster to carve as you want as the sole giant.

    Have a nice life.