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Is Television in Eric Schmidt’s Future?

Outgoing Google CEO Eric Schmidt is only going to stick around as executive chairman for a year after he turns the company over

Outgoing Google CEO Eric Schmidt is only going to stick around as executive chairman for a year after he turns the company over to co-founder Larry Page, 37, on April 4, according to the New Yorker's Ken Auletta, who wrote the book "Googled."

Eric reportedly started getting antsy after he lost the China uncensored search battle last year to Page and Google's other co-founder Sergey Brin coupled with Facebook becoming the hot technology shop where the top engineers really want to work while Google looked increasingly bureaucratic and governments complained about privacy and copyrights. He was tired and couldn't "re-energize."

TechCrunch editor Michael Arrington chimes in that he was going to break a story a story about Eric stepping down late last summer but Google ultimately convinced him it wasn't true. Arrington says Eric isn't prepared to fight "probably losing battles against Apple and Facebook for the next decade."

Schmidt, 55, who owns ~2.9% of Google and holds 9.6% of the voting power, is going to get $100 million in stock and options on February 2 for stepping aside, the first such payout since he started at Google 10 years ago. The shares will vest over four years. He's going to sell 534,000 shares of Google's special Class A stock reducing his voting power to 9.1% and increasing his bank account by about $335 million.

For all the talk about the Eric's decision stemming from the desire to simplify Google's decision-making process. Sergey and Larry had no problem buying what became Google Earth and Android without telling him. There's speculation Page won't care as much about Google Apps as the Microsoft-wounded Schmidt and of course he will have to do something about Android's alleged legal liability.

Auletta says Page "will have to change. He is a very private man, who often in meetings looks down at his hand-held Android device, who is not a comfortable public speaker, who hates to have a regimented schedule, who thinks it is an inefficient use of his time to invest too much of it in meetings with journalists or analysts or governments."

Meanwhile, according to the New York Post Schmidt wants to be a talk-show host on TV. It's an idea his old boss Scott McNealy once had for himself. McNealy is a lot smoother. Schmidt reportedly taped a pilot for CNN in August. The paper says it was "a complete disaster."

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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