Steve Jobs told Google it was ‘doing too much stuff’

Google CEO Larry Page

Google CEO Larry Page

Steve Jobs was notorious for channeling all of Apple’s efforts into one product at time. In 2007, Apple had to issue a press release explaining that it was delaying the release of OS X Leopard to finish making the iPhone.

Google is on the opposite end of the spectrum. It’s always releasing new products, and many never see commercial success. In a recent interview, Google CEO Larry Page shared how Jobs used to tell him that Google was “doing too much” stuff at once, and why he didn’t listen.

In a fireside chat with billionaire investor Vinod Khosla, Larry Page and Google co-founder Sergey Brin talking about the company’s history, current work, and future plans for technology¬†like self-driving cars and its other moonshot projects under Google X.

A particularly interesting part of the interview happens around the 25 minute mark. When asked how Google focuses on projects, Page said that “ideally, the company would scale the number of things it does with the number of people, kind of in a linear fashion.” He said that having 30,000 employees only working on one thing is “not very exciting” for them.

In what was most likely a reference to Apple, Page said that it’s “kind of stupid if you have this big company, and you can only do, like, five things.” He said he would debate with Jobs about the issue, who said “you guys are doing too much stuff.”

Google is a company that likes to experiment, as evidenced by Glass, self-driving cars, etc. Apple also experiments, but the different is that it does so in secret behind closed doors.

Steve Jobs told Google it was ‘doing too much stuff’

With regards to mixing health with wearables and software, Brin said that it’s difficult to do in the U.S. right now. “Health is so heavily regulated,” he said. “It’s just a painful business to be in.” Apple’s iWatch is expected to have health-tracking features that work with its HealthKit platform for third-party developers.

It has been reported that Apple has met with the FDA to meet regulatory approval for the iWatch, which is expected to arrive in October.

  • Guest

    Look at Sony and now Samsung who is trying to do too much. #Unfocused

    • Duncan Hill

      I think the justification for the lack of focus on Google’s part is different to Sony and Samsung. The latter are trying to latch on the the next big thing and are primarily riding on Apple’s coat tails (if there were rumours that Apple’s next product was an iToilet, then Samsung would have on one the market within a month), where Google are doing a lot because they think it is cool and they are having fun with something that might be useful in the future.

  • TP

    Google = Sony

  • aardman

    The old AT&T (via Bell Labs), IBM, Microsoft and nowadays, Google were/are companies who had wide ranging R&D programs that generated a lot of new ideas. As to whether the companies themselves got a lot of bang from the bucks they poured into R&D, I’m not so sure. But their contributions to science and technology certainly benefited society as a whole, so I’m not complaining.

  • Duncan Hill

    I think they’re very different companies. Apple is more focused on style and refinement and makes its money from product sales, where those issues are important. Google is primarily in the data game in terms of its biggest products. Both its search engine (and other ancillary items like gmail, calendar etc) and Android are basically platforms which they use to harvest user information which they then sell to advertisers. This revenue stream means that they have lots of cash to piss away on having fun. Frankly I would much rather see them doing this; People like Google, Elon Musk and so on are the modern day patrons of the Rennaisance. Remember that people like Leonardo Da Vinci were basically funded by rich people who made vast amounts of money through their lands and so on, who wanted the cultural and intellectual elite around them to show how awesome they were, and thus funded the arts and sciences in order to show off. What Google are doing in this respect is, in my opinion is really great, and even essential, as governments are too busy tightening their belts and many other established companies are too bothered with hoarding money and making big payoffs to their shareholders, rather than investing in the future.

  • Jack Dawson

    its “with regard” not “with regards” LOL . Apple without Steve Jobs is not Apple :)

  • TJ

    These guys are like two genius babies playing with a nuclear bomb’s firing device and thinking how cool and shiny it is. Absolutely no clue or care how their actions effect others.

About the author

Alex HeathAlex Heath is a senior writer at Cult of Mac and co-host of the CultCast. He has been quoted by the likes of the BBC, KRON 4 News, and books like "ICONIC: A Photographic Tribute to Apple Innovation." If you want to pitch a story, share a tip, or just get in touch, additional contact information is available on his personal site. Twitter always works too.

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