By Verne Kopytoff
FORTUNE -- Larry Page, Google's chief executive, is fed up with the negativity in the technology industry and the news media that covers its every detail like a prizefight.
"Every story I read about Google is 'us versus some other company' or some stupid thing, and I just don't find that very interesting," he said Wednesday at his company's annual developers conference. "We should be building great things that don't exist. Being negative isn't how we make progress."
A few minutes later, Page went on the attack -- negativity be damned. He criticized Microsoft (MSFT) over compatibility issues between its email service and Google's (GOOG) products. Microsoft was "milking off" of Google's innovation," Page told the crowd. He then lashed out at Oracle (ORCL), which unsuccessfully sued Google for patent infringement. "Money is more important to them than any kind of collaboration," Page said.
Google executives may consider themselves to be above the fray, but, in reality, they are as aggressive as many of their technology industry counterparts. Public sniping at rivals is common. They trash competing products and business strategies, often in obvious attempts to lift the fortunes of their own services and mobile devices. Although some of their criticisms are off the cuff, many are planned and vetted -- making it impossible to argue that they lack the corporate seal of approval.
Microsoft is Google's most frequently target of derision. During Google's early days, top Google executives regularly made snide comments about Microsoft's antitrust conviction and software-based products that they considered obsolete. As the rivalry grew, their public feud continued on a number of fronts. For example, Eric Schmidt, Google's chairman, during an interview last year with the editors at AllThingsD, the technology news site, dismissed Microsoft's online efforts and push into hardware. In general, he said that Microsoft has been unable to create "state of the art" products. When naming the four most influential technology companies, Schmidt conspicuously left Microsoft off the list.
Page's criticisms of Microsoft yesterday focused on a lack of cooperation by the software giant that he said is holding back the Internet's development. Microsoft integrated Google's email service into its Outlook email but didn't let Google give its users access to Microsoft's services. It wasn't the only flash point between the two companies yesterday. Earlier, Google sent Microsoft a cease and desist letter demanding that Microsoft remove the YouTube app from its Windows Phone operating system because the app lacked its usual advertising, according to The Verge, a technology news site.
Apple (AAPL) is another of Google's punching bags. Google executives alternate between praising Apple and beating on it. For example, Vic Gundotra, Google's senior vice president of engineering, attacked Apple at Google's developer conference in 2010, without mentioning the company's name. The message was clear, however: Apple and the iPhone were a threat to free competition while Google and the Android mobile operating system were its saviors.
"If Google did not act, we faced a draconian future -- a future where one man, one company, one device, one carrier would be our only choice," Gundotra said. "So if you believe in openness, if you believe in choice, if you believe in innovation from everyone, then welcome to Android." To hammer the point home, he flashed a slide referencing George Orwell's 1984 alongside the phrase "not the future we want." Google's let's-all-get-along edict apparently had the day off.
Page's aversion to negativity took another holiday earlier this year during an interview with Wired magazine in which he talked about Facebook (FB). His perspective is, of course, colored by Google's efforts to build a credible social network competitor. After acknowledging Facebook's strength, Page dismissively and perhaps hyperbolically said, "They're also doing a really bad job on their products." Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's founder, seems to have weathered the criticism just fine.
Page's frustration with Oracle follows a lengthy patent dispute between the two companies. Lawsuits, like the one Oracle filed over the use of Java software, stifle innovation, he said. In complaining about Oracle on stage, Page took on a company that arguably owns the tech industry's crown for combativeness. Larry Ellison, Oracle's chief executive, has a history of filing lawsuits against rivals and then ridiculing them. "We'd like to have a cooperative relationship with Oracle," Page said. "It doesn't seem possible."
The German software giant is betting on cloud-based technology and services.
FORTUNE -- In case you haven't heard, SAP is serious about the cloud. On Tuesday the enterprise software giant announced it will offer HANA, its in-memory database, as a monthly subscription service, delivered via the cloud.
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Apple is the largest slice of the 500 and it's one of only three stocks whose P/E shrank
FORTUNE -- Apple (AAPL), Oracle (ORCL) and EMC (EMC).
Those are the only three companies in the S&P 500 whose price-to-earnings ratio did not grow over the past 90 days, according to a Seeking Alpha piece posted Monday by someone or something called Pendulum.
The other 497 companies have all seen their valuations increase to MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Mar 25, 2013 11:13 AM ET
There's no shortage of HR software to track employee goals. The next step is to get workers to actually follow them.
FORTUNE -- Stodgy human resources software is getting a reboot. Over the past year enterprise giants IBM (IBM), Oracle (ORCL), and SAP (SAP) have collectively shelled out some $6 billion to acquire companies that make recruitment and compensation tools. Salesforce's new Work.com product lets managers and employees track their goals. MOREMichal Lev-Ram, writer - Oct 17, 2012 5:00 AM ET
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Shocker! Oracle takes on Amazon with all-Oracle-all-the-time cloud [GIGAOM]
Oracle cloud will use "our OS, our VM, our compute services and storage services on the fastest most reliable systems in the world — our engineered systems, Exadata, Exalogic, Exalytics, all linked with Infiniband," Ellison told thousands of Oracle customers, partners and others at San Francisco's Moscone Center Sunday night. MOREJP Mangalindan, Writer - Oct 1, 2012 1:08 PM ET
YOU GUESSED IT: We switched to iPhone yesterday [POLITICO PLAYBOOK]
BlackBerry was amazing over several jobs and three presidents. We have had one for so long that we remember the days when people would say: "Your calculator is ringing." ... But BlackBerry stopped serving us: The last several models we tried would freeze all the time, held only a couple of photos, and were set for some foreign alphabet, producing odd automatic MOREJP Mangalindan, Writer - Jun 8, 2012 10:34 AM ET
May -- not April -- was the cruelest month for quality tech stocks. And not just because of the botched Facebook IPO.
By Kevin Kelleher, contributor
FORTUNE -- April, as T.S. Eliot famously said, is the cruelest month. But for investors who put their faith in tech stocks, it's hard to look back on the past month and feel good. No, the merry month of May has been cruel. And there's MOREMay 31, 2012 6:01 AM ET
Léo Apotheker's disastrous tenure as HP's CEO revealed a dysfunctional company struggling for direction after a decade of missteps and scandals. Can his replacement, Meg Whitman, fix the tech giant?
By James Bandler with Doris Burke
FORTUNE -- A few months after she took over as the CEO of Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) last September, Meg Whitman held one in a series of get-to-know-you meetings with employees. To say the audience, a group MOREMay 8, 2012 5:00 AM ET
SAP's latest earnings report shows some progress in the software giant's quest to remake itself. Now it wants to become the fastest-growing database company in the world.
FORTUNE -- SAP's efforts to become more nimble and innovative appear to be working—to some extent. Revenue from new products like an in-memory database technology called HANA and cloud-based software from recently-acquired SuccessFactors is growing, but it still makes up a small fraction of MOREMichal Lev-Ram, writer - Apr 25, 2012 3:01 PM ET
Apple, by contrast, generated more than $575 for every iOS device it sold last year
"In terms of returns, Android is sustainable," writes Asymco's Horace Dediu at the end of a long analytical piece posted Monday. "However, in relative terms the value created leaves much to be desired."
That's quite an understatement, especially when you consider how much Apple (AAPL) makes on its mobile devices. According to Dediu, Apple generated $576.30 per MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Apr 2, 2012 2:34 PM ET
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