Google CEO Eric Schmidt has been seen hobnobbing around town with Steve Jobs on more than a few occasions, but now that Steve Jobs is sick and Eric Schmidt is voluntarily leaving his ten year stint as the head of the infamous search giant, journalists are starting to ask if Schmidt might be the successor to Jobs’ crown.
On Schmidt’s part, while being respectful of Steve and conscientious of his illness, he’s also being a little coy.
Asked if he’d consider taking the role of CEO at Apple, Schmidt said:
“In the first place, it’s not appropriate. Steve [Jobs] is still the CEO and I hope he continues forever.”
So far, so good, but Schmidt was then asked if Apple had approached him to fill the role, to which he responded with a non-denial when a simple “no” would have done (and been more respectful).
“I’m not going to talk about private conversations with anybody.”
Is Schmidt, then, being considered to head Apple? Has he even had a conversation about it? I seriously doubt it.
Sure, it looks good on paper: Schmidt has successfully led one of the shining crown jewels of tech for ten years now, and it was under his leadership that Android became the biggest smartphone OS on Earth. With iOS the driving factor behind Apple’s fortunes now, Apple’s board members might want someone with Schmidt’s strong mobile background.
The problem is, Android isn’t really something that can be chalked up to Schmidt. In fact, according to Schmidt, Android was something that was purchased by Google founders without consulting him first.
Schmidt’s a good CEO, but the reason he’s leaving Google is he felt increasingly ineffective there, and couldn’t reboot. He’s slowing down. When the time comes, Apple will need to replace Steve with a dynamic visionary, and that guy just isn’t Schmidt.