The American-India, Sundar Pichai who grew up in a two-room apartment in Chennai back in the 1970s and 1980s –has taken over the CEO post of one of the world’s most affluent company, Alphabet Inc., the parent company of search engine giant Google.
In a move that marked the end of an era, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, who were the co-founders of Google 1998 have stepped down from the management activities of the technology giant. Page and Brin have been two of the most influential people alongside Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. This news has added more than $800 million each to their net worth as of 10 am in New York, after the firm’s shares rose 1.5%.
Pichai 47, became the CEO of the tech giant in 2015 and was managing the main business since then. Pichai’s raise was announced after the market hours in the US on Tuesday with Page giving up his role as Alphabet CEO and Brin as president.
Besides leading Google’s search, advertising and related products such as videos platform YouTube, Pichai’s responsibility will now extend to Alphabet’s futuristic investments, like driverless cars, high-altitude balloons and efforts to lengthen life.
He is taking charge of Alphabet during one of the most crucial time, as the company is facing increased regulatory scrutiny of large digital companies, the threat from Chinese competitors the foremost of which is Tik-Tok’s parent ByteDance for the next billion internet users, especially in emerging markets like India, and internal employee unrest.
Tik-Tok has been trending in the market since the past few years and is a major competitor of Youtube. However, his main focus will be to maintain the dominance of Google despite all these challenges.
ByteDance, one of the most esteemed startups in the world, has now announced the launch of a smartphone and a music streaming product, directly clashing with Google’s offerings in the same space.
The duopoly of Google and Facebook functioned like an online advertising market for the past few years. However, with the entry of Tik-Tok, it seems like both the giants are losing hold in this arena.
Google’s penetration into the Indian digital payment business with the launch of Google Pay a few years back is now widely spreading as it is expanding the number of languages to support its users.
Pichai’s attempts to re-enter China, allegedly through a censored search engine, have not yet called off.
The news about Google’s ‘Project Dragonfly’ – which surrendered to the censorship requirements of the Chinese state in exchange for market entree – has drawn severe resentments from both politicians and its own employees.
It is also noted that the United States and Europe, have increased calls to break up technology giants into smaller businesses to curb their monopolistic control over the internet and consumer data.
Though Page and Brin have decided to step down from the management roles of Alphabet, they own about 6% of the company, giving them the right to have a word in any major decisions. As a retirement gift from investors, both Brin and Page received dollar 1.7 billion.
Now what we have to look into is how Pichai will continue the dominance of Google as it is currently sitting on a cash pile of dollar 128 billion and how he will challenge China’s growing competition.