Steve Jobs Was First Choice For Google’s CEO

Steve Jobs Was First Choice For Google’s CEO

Back in 2000, when Google was just getting started, its venture capital backers insisted the fledling company find an experieced CEO to provide ‘adult supervision.’

Venture capitalist John Doerr arranged for Google’s young co-founders to meet with half-a-dozen Silicon Valley CEOs in an attempt to get the process started. Larry Page and Sergey Brin met with Intel’s Andy Grove, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and several others.

At the end of the tour, they were ready to hire a CEO but there was a problem, according to Wired senior writer Steven Levy:

… they would only consider one person: Steve Jobs.

Jobs was busy running Apple, of course, which was just about to introduce the first iPod, the product that would transform the company. Doerr persuaded them to widen their net and introduced them to Eric Schmidt, then CEO of Novell. Schmidt became Google’s CEO in 2001.

The nugget about Steve Jobs is from the latest Wired magazine, in a story about Larry Page retaking the reins as Google’s CEO. It is not yet online. The story is an excerpt from Levy’s upcoming book, “In the Plex: How Google Thinks, Works and Shapes Our Lives,” which is Amazon ($5.98).

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  • joe b

    Another example, if true, of a company succeeding by getting what they needed, not what they wanted. In other words, they did it in spite of themselves.

  • Andrew Cybulska

    Which issue is this? I don’t remember this article in Wired 19.03, with the Foxxconn story.

  • gnomehole

    Too bad for Google… they could have been so much more if they had scored SJ.

    Fandroids everywhere would be singing his praises and would not be blind to words that mean nothing in the current Google vocabulary.. like “open”.

    Hey, maybe Android would have been what it was meant to be as well – something free of carrier rule. Fragmentation wouldn’t exist, and the devices might actually be of some quality.

    Crazy.

  • Mates5

    Remember reading that on Phandroid.com that they interviewed him, but don’t rember part that he was the first choice, Eric Schmidt was in fact forst choice.

  • tom b

    Bummer for Google. Schmidt marked a major turning point for Google– downward. Their adventure into smartphones, lead by Schmidt, will eventually be the undoing of the company.

    Long AAPL, and (regrettably) Google. They should have stuck with search!

  • yahoo-IDB37HJROWS4TKH2WU6OT5QOAE

    When was that picture taken? He looks a lot younger and healthier than he does know.

  • trublesun

    Not to be terribly blunt, but Google has been quite a success despite not getting Steve Jobs. On the other hand, Apple wouldn’t be able to claim half the success without Jobs. Because of that, we now have two massively successful companies, instead of just one, and now they’re competing with each other in the mobile device market, to the benefit of consumers like us.

  • Liguiqing1972

    my god. This is a very old story. Like last year.

  • lkahney

    It’s the April edition — the one with the controversial cover of Limor Fried: http://www.businessinsider.com

  • lkahney

    One thing to think about is whether Larry and Sergey really would have hired Steve Jobs. After all, he doesn’t have a PhD.

    Google was famous for hiring PhDs for its technical jobs. Larry and Sergey were PhD students at Stanford when they founded Google, but they dropped out. In the early days they focused on hiring PhDs. Some say that’s why they hired Dr. Eric Schmidt — he has a PhD in computer engineering.

    Of course, Steve Jobs dropped out of college. I’ll bet that Larry and Sergey are intellectually insecure and would ultimately have passed on Jobs.

About the author

Leander KahneyLeander Kahney is the editor and publisher of Cult of Mac. He is the NYT bestselling author of Jony Ive: The Genius Behind Apple's Greatest Products; Inside Steve’s Brain; Cult of Mac; and Cult of iPod. Leander has written for Wired, MacWeek, Scientific American, and The Guardian in London. Follow Leander on Twitter @lkahney and Facebook.

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