A Google engineer who just left the company after nearly 13 years criticized it Wednesday for becoming “100% competitor-focused,” and said the company “can no longer innovate.”
Steve Yegge, who joined Google from Amazon in 2005, wrote a blog post about his decision to quit the company, saying it has become too focused on competitors instead of customers. He cited product launches like its smart speaker — Home — its chat app — Allo — and its Android Instant Apps, as copying Amazon, Facebook-owned WhatsApp, and WeChat, respectively.
“Google has become 100% competitor-focused rather than customer focused,” he writes. “They’ve made a weak attempt to pivot from this, with their new internal slogan ‘Focus on the user and all else will follow.’ But unfortunately it’s just lip service.”
He says that employees don’t set aside enough time to regularly interact with customers, instead relying on competitor activity to guide decisions about what people want.
Google declined to comment.
In an email to CNBC, Yegge said: “My only comment is that this was my own personal viewpoint and does not represent the opinions or position of Google.”
This isn’t the first time that Yegge, known for creating a service for Google developers called “Grok,” has has publicly lambasted company. In 2011, he wrote a harsh criticism of the social network Google Plus which was meant to be internal but was accidentally posted publicly (on Google Plus). In it, he called Google’s attempt at a social network, “a prime example of our complete failure to understand platforms from the very highest levels of executive leadership.” The write-up circulated widely (even Google cofounder Sergey Brin saw it) but Yegge’s posting mistake didn’t cost him his job.
He wrote this new blog post after deciding to join the Southeast Asian ride-hailing company Grab — and dedicates the second part of it describing why that company is so innovative.
Although he highlights Waymo, Alphabet’s self-driving car company, and TensorFlow, Google’s open-source software, as being exciting products, his main point is that Google has lost its own ability to innovate as its various rivalries take precedence.
The competition playing out most obviously in recent months has been between Amazon and Google. The two companies have had a race to the bottom on cloud pricing, and spats around their respective smart speakers, with Google blocking YouTube from working on Amazon’s FireTV and Amazon refusing to sell Google’s products. Google also just launchedits own audiobook service instead of integrating its smart speaker with Amazon’s offering.
You can read the rest of Yegge’s post here.
Source: Tech CNBC
A long-time Google engineer quits, saying the company is now '100% competitor focused'