Business Insider’s Nicholas Carlson, who’s quickly becoming one of the best practitioners of longform tech journalism, wrote an extensive history of Larry Page’s rise, fall, and rise at Google. With Eric Schmidt’s appointment as Google CEO, Page was exiled to wander around the extremities of the company’s business, only to latch on to a little-known startup called Android and build it up to the largest operating system in the world.
On some issues, Page’s opinion was simply ignored. For example, after Google had become the Internet’s most successful advertising business, Page decided the company should destroy the advertising agency industry. To his thinking, it was obviously a highly inefficient system that could be erased with the help of technology. Not only did the company opt not to take on this battle, but Schmidt and his top advertising executives, Tim Armstrong and Sheryl Sandberg, did their best to make sure none of Google’s many important ad agency clients caught wind of Page’s ideas on the topic.
Over time, Page came to appreciate Schmidt’s strengths very much. Page’s goal had been to invent something that made the world better, and to see it become properly commercialized. Google search had definitely done the former, and Schmidt had played a huge role in building the kind of company that could capitalize financially on Page’s vision. He wasn’t like any of the villains who had plagued Nikola Tesla’s life.
As his comfort level with Schmidt increased, Page receded further.