Eric Schmidt to Step Aside As CEO of Google As 4th Quarter Revenue Grows 26%

While everyone looks to Facebook as the next Google, it’s always a good to remind yourself that the original Google isn’t dead yet. In the Q4 of 2010, revenue increased 26% to $8.44 billion. Facebook reportedly pulled in $1.86 billion – for the entire year. It’s likely this increase was tied to record breaking amounts of online holiday shopping as retailers and advertisers tried to ensure they got their share of the increasing e-commerce pie. The increasing smartphone market share of Android based devices probably didn’t hurt either.

Larry Page (L), Eric Schmidt and Sergey Brin (R)

What’s not as clear is why longtime CEO Eric Schmidt is stepping aside.

TechCrunch reports that Schmidt will become Executive Chairman on April 4, while Google co-founder Larry Page takes the reins as CEO.

Pleasantries were exchanged about the shift, with Schmidt saying the change will “create clearer responsibility and accountability at the top of the company.”

Page says “Eric has clearly done an outstanding job leading Google for the last decade. The results speak for themselves. There is no other CEO in the world that could have kept such headstrong founders so deeply involved and still run the business so brilliantly. Eric is a tremendous leader and I have learned innumerable lessons from him. His advice and efforts will be invaluable to me as I start in this new role. Google still has such incredible opportunity–we are only at the beginning and I can’t wait to get started.”

Page and co-founder Sergey Brin have always played a role in day to day operations of the search giant, so there probably won’t be any huge outward shifts. We do wonder if there will be any differences business wise. Google has had some successful acquisitions (ITA, a travel booking system), but has famously had two disappointing prospects that failed to happen. Groupon is the one you probably remember, Yelp is the one you may have forgotten, but both were supposed to help Google in the local market where algorithms haven’t been as successful as (sales)people at getting small businesses advertising online.

While $8 billion in revenue and a 26% increase in revenue is no small feat, tapping into the local market is obviously important to Google and the inability to close deals with 2 major players (or come up with a formidable competitor) may be something those at the top kept in mind.

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