The View Atop The Googleplex: Growing Pains, Google Music, Nerd Fights

ThisThere’s a lot to absorb in Businessweek’s massive look at the top of Google’s executive food chain. But the juicy bits are extra juicy.

The profiles of the top Google brass tell as much about the company as they do the individuals. First, that it’s a massive, sprawling institution with varying degrees of autonomy from division to division. Second, that Google and Apple have maybe moved to past the frenemy stage:

As Android became a threat to Apple in 2008, Apple began resisting Google’s claim to valuable location data gathered whenever an iPhone owner used Google Maps. [Google VP Vic Gundotra] ‘s negotiations with Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller grew so heated that Schmidt and Steve Jobs had to intervene to settle the matter.

And then there’s Google Music, a service that’s been in the offing since October of 2009 but still hasn’t found its legs:

[Andy Rubin] ‘s group has developed a service that will let users upload their music collections to Google’s servers and then synchronise them with any mobile device, according to three people familiar with Google’s plans. The offering could be unveiled as soon as next month. Representatives of the music labels with knowledge of the talks caution that no deals have been signed. As one of them says, however, Google’s music effort has more credibility now that Rubin is running it.

Still no deal? Boooo. Music industry taking the possibility of a deal seriously? Well, I guess you take what you can get.

Most of all, you get an impression of just how big and diverse an undertaking Google is, especially given that it still has only one serious source of revenue: search. They’re developing two competing operating systems in the same company, for goodness sake! Will having Larry Page alone at the top help the company harness all that energy, turning side projects into life-altering futurecandy? Maybe. As long as these people stick around to help him. [Businessweek]

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