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Google CEO Diane Greene Exits As Head of Google Cloud Business

Expectations v. Actual Performance

Sundar Pichai handed over the leadership of Google’s rising cloud business to Diane Green about 3 years ago. The change of leadership was expected to signify the company’s launch into the cloud computing business.

For a couple of years, the internet company has struggled to make headway in business software. It has been restricted by a culture that is developer centric and which prioritizes automation as well as any product that is fast and easy to use over communication with users and buyers of business.

Google has been restricted by a culture that prioritizes automation over communication with users

While the company was still trying to get things in place, Amazon Web services had already gone ahead to start operating with cloud computing. Microsoft took the second spot and Greene was meant to bring Google to a vantage position. Green is the co-founder and doubles as the first CEO of VMware. VMware kind of helped to kickstart cloud revolution as it pioneered a technology known as virtualization. The tech makes it possible for data centers’ operators to get more functionality from the server hardware.

However, on Friday, Greene made the announcement that she will exit her position in January, 2019. Her replacement is expected to be Thomas Kurian. Kurian left the top executive position he occupied at Oracle.

During her tenure, Google’s yearly capital expenditure was increased to more than $13 billion from a previous $10 billion. The cloud unit went ahead to hire more people and it hired more than all other units at Alphabet did over the past 2 years. It also landed some vital customer wins. Also, it built out different essential functions for sale to enterprises and such includes professional services, marketing, and training.

Company’s Struggles

However, despite all the efforts, Google has still been having some struggles. Industry followers have opined that it is a race that is between just Microsoft and Amazon. Google isn’t making sufficient progressing at keeping pace in the cloud infrastructure sector. Gartner estimates that the industry will increase from the current $31 billion to $39.5 billion in 2019.

The cloud computing industry appears to be a race between just Microsoft and Amazon

Greene positively spun the announcement last week stating that she was one the employees of Google that will interview Kurian. She will be joined b Pichai and also Urs Hoelzle who happens to be the eight-employee of Google and also now serves as the senior VP of the company’s technical infrastructure. She also said that as at the time she took up the role in 2015, she already informed her family and also friends that she planned to remain in the post just for two years.

Disagreement Between Leaders

A major challenge for the cloud business of Google is reportedly that its direction isn’t clear. That was made more obvious by the tension between Greene and Pichai, according to past employees and also persons who have knowledge of the existing relationship but wouldn’t want to be named considering it is a sensitive topic.

The situation has even been made awkward by the fact that both of them sit on the board of Alphabet. While Greene has occupied the position of a director ever since 2012 which was 3 years after the acquisition of her company, Bebop by Google. Pichai who is a Google veteran just joined the board in 2017.

Some employees described the disagreement that ensued between both of them over a contract which has been described as controversial. The contract is with the Defense Department and is referred to as Project Maven. The sources claim that outsiders, as well as employees, called on the company cloud platform for a cancellation of the contract, Pichai was willing to consider what the protestors had said. At the onset, Green resisted those calls because the project was lucrative and also important to subsequent government work, despite the effects it has on the company reputation as well as its employee morale.

Pichai and Greene took different views on the utility of a controversial contract

Later, the company made the decision that it wouldn’t renew that contract. It then went ahead to lay down some ethical principles concerning the use of artificial intelligence. The principles prohibit the company from the development of artificial intelligence to use in weapons.

It, however, isn’t against the company pursuing other military contracts such as in areas like cybersecurity, military recruitment, training, veterans healthcare.

Linking Business Partnerships

While speaking to a media outlet, Tariq Shaukat who is a top executive in the company said that a lot of representatives under the CEO have been porting to other teams such as maps and advertising. Shaukat said the company is getting several demands from its customers and they need to approach that as a single team if they were hoping to make.

However, it has been reported that Greene is making all business partnerships of Google with other companies based on the existence of a business relationship with the cloud department. According to sources, that has led to the frustration of other heads of departments.

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