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Google CEO Schmidt steps down, co-founder Page to take over

by Jorge Hernandez on January 21, 2011

The CEO of Google, Eric Schmidt, who transformed the website from a fledgling startup to one of the world's most successful companies, will be stepping down from his post and handing control over to co-founder Larry Page. The full transfer will be completed by April 4, and Schmidt will be become executive chairman, Bloomberg reports.

Schmidt was brought in by Google in 2001 to help move the company forward, and he did not disappoint. The 55-year-old CEO saw the company's size grow from around 200 employees to 24,000, and he also oversaw the largest public offering for an internet based company is in history.

The two men have distinctly different managerial styles. Schmidt has a Ph. D in computer science and is nearly 20 years older than Page, who was in college when he founded Google. Although Page does not have any experience in the business realm, Schmidt is confident he will be able to do a good job.

"Larry is ready," Schmidt told the news source. "It's time for him to have a shot at running this."

However, the task certainly won't be be easy. Google is feeling growing pressure from a number of competitors including Facebook, which is expected to make a public offering later this year. Perhaps their biggest struggle will be to keep users' attention, which will be difficult given the fact that Facebook eclipsed the 500 million user mark last year.

Page will also have to manage the company's burgeoning mobile device market, specifically in competition with Apple'. In November, Google's Android accounted for 26 percent of smartphone users, topping Apple's iPhone by 1 percentage point. In the search engine realm, Google is still at the top, capturing more than 66 percent of searches in the U.S. in December.  

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