Who’s the Terminator now?

“EMPOWERING great entrepreneurs and [allowing] companies to flourish.” This was one of the reasons Larry Page, the co-founder of Google, gave when he announced almost a year ago that the firm would restructure itself. Google, which comprises the internet-search and advertising business, now sits as a subsidiary in a holding company called Alphabet, alongside the “other bets”, a dozen startup businesses that range from fibre networks and smart cities to robotics and life sciences. Yet for now at least, the flourishing is limited and the entrepreneurs seem somewhat less than empowered.

When Tony Fadell, the boss of Nest, which makes wireless thermostats and other “smart home” devices (see article), resigned last week, it was not only because of Nest’s disappointing results and his abrasive management style, but the fact that he no longer got along with Mr Page. Even before Alphabet was launched, Andy Rubin, who ran the company’s robotics...Continue reading