Not Worried about Competition? Well they are Petrified!

It really boggles me when CEOs of big companies in fast moving industries, come out and say publicly that they are not worried about the competition at all. But their actions point to something else, contradicting their recent public speeches. Is it the same when it comes to the financial condition of a troubled company? Do the CEOs deny uncertainty of revenue and profitability and seek for strategic alternatives like holding their assets up for sale?

Some recent collations from earning announcements and press releases by CEOs and executives on addressing competition and their actions shortly therafter.

Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt has been denying worrying about Facebook on public forums like Charlie Rose etc. and yet his stepping down for speeding decisions and streamlining future is so contradictory to his earlier statements.

Excerpt below from press release:

Google CEO Eric Schmidt along with Google co-Founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin expressed that they are not concerned with the growth of Apple and Facebook. Brin stated that their indicators “show that when Internet users become Facebook users they actually do significantly more searches on Google.” The Google trio declined to comment on the rumor that Google is currently building a social networking site to rival Facebook called “Google Me,” reports Reuters.

And shortly therafter Google announced the reorganization of upper management. “The Street will think it’s a negative, that there is probably some issue going on. Google is trying to get more efficient and trying to get a tech guy in the seat to compete with Facebook,” said UBS analyst Brian Pitz.

Recent article by Business Insider read ‘Intel: We’re Not Worried About Microsoft’s ARM Move’. With a slower start on the growing tablet space and 30 year partner deciding to go with other companies as partners can’t be putting Intel into anything other than a tight spot.
AT&T exec’s recent interview said “we are not worried about a Verizon iphone”. Really? It’s difficult to digest that a competitor enroaching on it’s most profitable and exclusive relationship with a growth engine is not worrying execs at AT&T. What’s interesting is the Operator’s actions: It has spent more than $18 billion both this year and last to improve its network.
I guess this is not just true of the telecom space. CEO’s of financial institutions including Lehman were denying any risk even right before the collapse.

So next time when you hear a CEO or a senior executive mention publicy that they are not worried about the competition, do believe them, because they are not just worried they are PETRIFIED.

What’s your opinion?

[Anubha Jayaswal, the author, is a Wharton MBA and works for a leading technology company. She eagerly follows and comments on the telecommunications world. She earlier wrote : App Ecosystem Story in India and Game Apps =- Fad or Future?.]

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