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Schmidt Stepping Down as Google's CEO

Eric Schmidt, Google's CEO, will be stepping down from that position while continuing to serve the company as executive chairman, Google announced today.

Larry Page, a Google cofounder, will assume the CEO position on April 4. Sergey Brin, the other Google cofounder, will keep his title and direct strategy on new products, according to a Google announcement. The shift at the top was announced at the same time that Google delivered positive financial results for its fourth quarter and year, which ended on Dec. 31, 2010.

Search giant Google reported $2.5 billion net income in the fourth quarter, compared with $1.9 billion net income for the same period in 2009. Most of the revenue came from Google-owned sites (67 percent of total revenues) and Google partner sites (30 percent of total revenues). Google makes the bulk of its money through search advertising, although it also offers services to business customers such as the Google Apps Premier Edition. In addition, Google hosts the Android Market Web portal, providing a marketplace for selling Android-based applications for mobile devices.

Google also is planning a Web-based operating system called Google Chrome OS that has been released on prototype devices to testers.

According to comScore's December search engine ranking results, Google has continued to maintain its dominant lead over Yahoo and Microsoft in the U.S. search market. Google held 66.6 percent of the U.S. search market in December, followed by Yahoo with 16 percent and Microsoft with 12 percent. Although comScore breaks down the numbers, Yahoo's U.S. and Canadian search results have been powered by Microsoft's Bing search engine since August, based on a collaboration agreement.

Schmidt, in his new role as executive chairman, will focus on "broader business relationships, government outreach and technology thought leadership," according to Google's announcement. He'll also serve as an advisor to Page and Brin, although he sent a Twitter message today saying that "day-to-day adult supervision no longer needed."

It's anecdotal that Page and Brin achieved fame and fortune based on their search optimization research. Supposedly, the two got their early funding from a firm started by Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen, who recently has been suing software companies for patent infringement.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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