Google, Apple, and Tech-tonic Shifts - Some On Point Backgrounders

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How did we get to our current moment of tech-biz flux? Needless to say, the intersection of technology and business is an area On Point has focused on in recent years.

This past week saw the heads of perhaps America's two leading technology companies, Apple and Google, announce that they're stepping aside, at least for a time. With Facebook ascendant in terms of traffic, Verizon offering the iPhone, and talk of trouble at longtime media darling Google, it can seem a confusing moment. Apple's Steve Jobs has health problems again — and given his unique role in the company, it leaves great uncertainty. And in promoting Larry Page to CEO, Google seems to be confronting the reality that it's tough to stay on top in a business that has always been a hothouse for creative destruction. Claire Cain Miller of the New York Times writes:

Google, which has proved its ability to mint money with its online advertising systems, is trying to maintain its status as an engine of innovation. Mr. Page, 38, said on Thursday that he wanted to reinject Google with the speed and nimbleness that it once had as a start-up, before it swelled to 24,400 employees and $29.3 billion in annual revenue. The challenge for Mr. Page will be to keep that big machine humming while at the same time taking the company back to its roots. How well he does this could determine whether Google can come up with another giant hit — a feat that few successful technology companies have pulled off.

This program aired on January 22, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.