Speculation that Eric Schmidt was forced out as chief executive officer in favor of Larry Page due to internal conflicts surrounding China are “completely false,” Fortune reported. Schmidt also brushed off Facebook as a competitor and once again called Microsoft Google’s true competition at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
“I publicly said the next 10 years will be as successful as the past 10,” Schmidt said. “We’re going to run this way for a while. It’s a full-time job just to deal with all the external stuff: customers, partners, deals, M&A, government, press, publicity and marketing.”
He also mentioned that Sergey Brin will focus on “the order of three big initiatives.” Schmidt didn’t elaborate.
Turning to competition, Schmidt said he was perplexed by the Facebook obsession because “the facts don’t support it.”
“[Facebook] has clearly stated they don’t want to get into the search business. Facebook users tend to use Google search. Facebook’s ads business does not displace our advertising.”
Experian Hitwise reported that four out of the top 10 most-searched terms in 2010 were Facebook-related, which in part makes Schmidt’s case that people who use Facebook more frequently use Google. Also, Facebook surpassed Google as the most visited website.
There’s also the fact some Googlers jumped ship to Facebook. Oh, and people also spend more time on Facebook than Google.
Plus, blogs ate it up when the two giants quarreled over access to Gmail contact data, a dispute which is still unresolved.
So what are these facts Schmidt speaks of? For starters Google generates six times more revenue per user than Facebook, according to estimates:
Plus, Google just announced that 150 years worth of YouTube video is watched on Facebook every day.
So Facebook isn’t a competitor yet. It’s still “too early to tell.” But Schmidt does see Microsoft as a competitor.
“Microsoft has more cash, more engineers, more global reach [than Facebook]. We see competition from Microsoft every day.”
Of course, Google is still blowing away Bing, its closest search competitor, on market share.