Schmidt Versus Thiel May Be a Proxy for Google Trying Catch Up with Palantir

May 3, 2020

You will need to read the very, very long PR fest in the New York Times. I won’t do much with this story, so you will have to find the dead tree edition or pay to play to read “I Could Solve Most of Your Problems: Eric Schmidt’s Pentagon Offensive.” Yeah, hubris.

The headline does the job. But what’s with the PR push from the former CEO of Novell and then a similar job at Google.

But Google fired the Department of Defense. The current administration left Mr. Schmidt in his committee roles as the administration of Mr. Trump raced forward. Who accompanied him on his technology sprint? The Google, nope. The driver of the Bezos bulldozer? Not a chance.

Who then? Peter Thiel, the high profile Silicon Valley whiz, investor in Palantir Technologies and, probably as interesting, Anduril, a forward-leaning outfit engaged in primary data capture and action-oriented outputs for operators. Anduril, you say? Yes, I say.

Several items to keep in mind as this story wends its way through the pundit-verse:

  1. Mr. Trump is president, and he seems comfortable with the Palantir Technologies’ solutions
  2. Mr. Trump seems okay with Mr. Thiel
  3. Google dumped Maven and has been Googley in numerous US government endeavors. (This is nothing new because the behavior surfaced in the early days of the Mountain View tornado. Remember the objection regarding the contract award? Remember Mr. Brin’s wearing sparkly sneakers and a sporty T shirt to meetings with elected officials?)

Net net: Big PR coup and “real news” from the New York Times. The reality is that the the “real news” story is about Googler and the Google appear to be trying to regain traction—Traction lost with certain interesting behaviors. The problem is that the road to the White House has been subjected to abuse by the dozer tracks of other companies trying to reach the Valhalla of big money, multi year contracts. Googzilla my struggle for purchase where it counts. The NYT’s “real news” story may not be what Mr. Schmidt needs.

Stephen E Arnold, May 3, 2020


One Response to “Schmidt Versus Thiel May Be a Proxy for Google Trying Catch Up with Palantir”

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