Larry Page thinks the tech industry should work together. In his remarks at Google I/O, he said "us versus them" industry competition creates negativity that impedes overall progress in the industry. "Every story I read about Google is us versus some other company or some stupid thing," he said. "Being negative is not how we make progress. The most important things are not zero sum. There is a lot of opportunity out there."
Page singled out Microsoft for criticism, noting that the company recently gave its Outlook.com users the ability to log into Google Chat but didn't do the reverse, giving Google Chat users access to Outlook users.
"I've personally been quite sad at the industry's behavior around all these things. If you take something as simple as IM [instant messenger], we've had an open offer to interoperate forever," Page said. "Just this week Microsoft took advantage of that by interoperating with us. This is really sad, and not the way to make progress. You can't have people milking off of just one company for their own benefit." He added that Google tries to be on the right side of things and be practical about finding ways to move technology standards forward.
Page lamented about the rate of progress. "The Web is not advancing as fast as it should be," he said. "Certainly, we struggle with companies like Microsoft. We would like to see more open standards and more people involved in those ecosystems. I wouldn't grade the industry well with where we have gotten to." His view is that developers shouldn't have to write to any specific operating system and should just focus on writing apps above the foundation layers.
With Google's dominance in search and the rapid growth of Google Apps, Android, and Chrome, it's no wonder that Microsoft, as well as Apple, might be less inclined to fully open their doors when Google is trying to eat their lunch.
Page has the advantage of being ahead of the competition in many areas, and not being afraid to open-source technologies like Android. The new features in Google+ and Google's streaming music service indicate that the company is not holding back on taking the fight to Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, or Amazon.
Google wants to make billions of peoples' lives better through technology. It also wants those billions of people to be using Google's technology. It's not a zero sum game, where Google or another company colonizes the entire planet. But Page and company are competing, making every effort to build products and services that can dominate, just as Google search has.
Nor is Google as pure of heart, or open, as Page suggests. The company has been accused by various courts of anticompetitive practices, such as promoting, in search results, its own services, like comparison shopping and travel services, at the expense of competing services.
Microsoft spokesperson Frank Shaw responded to Page's statements in an email, chiding Page and Google for its demand that company take down its new YouTube app for Windows Phone.
"It's ironic that Larry is lending his voice to the discussion of interoperability considering his company's decision - today - to file a cease and desist order to remove the YouTube app from Windows Phone, let alone the recent decision to make it more difficult for our customers to connect their Gmail accounts to their Windows experience.
The battles go on, despite Page's desire to have the press cover more progressive topics and for the industry to just get along.
This story has been updated with Microsoft's comment.