Loyalty or treason: you decide

Is Google’s CEO a Crackberry addict? An AP photographer (Nati Harnik) snapped a picture of Eric Schmidt, chairman and CEO of Google, taking a picture of members of the press gathered outside the Sun Valley Inn, during the annual Allen & Co.'s media summit for media and technology muckety-mucks held in Sun Valley, Idaho on July 9.

But Schmidt is not snapping the picture with a Google’s G1 phone. The photo clearly shows him holding a Blackberry.

Business and technology press are having a field day “busting” the search leader’s top dog for treason. Some will cry foul, and the public relations folks at Google will spin it as market research on the popular Research In Motion product. It does sound like spin, but it may not be far from the truth. A facility with competitive products isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and his willingness to use another maker’s device is refreshing. However, since Schmidt sits on Apple’s board, he may have caught less flack if he used an iPhone.

Googlers are in fact particularly fond of iPhones. I had dinner last summer in Silicon Valley with a good friend who is also a Google engineer (and a minor rock star in the computing world). He whipped out his iPhone at one point to show me a cool application. He is a gear head from back in the day, beginning with his days as a Bell Labs researcher. I would wager a bet he’s played with iPhones, Blackberrys, Palm PDAs and yes, Google’s Android. It seems his preference is the iPhone. Either way, it is that curiosity to understand and use the universe of technology available whether his company markets it or not that makes him more valuable to the Google team.

Want to read more about issues of loyalty? Check out the July 13th issue of DMNews. It’s our first special issue around a single topic: you will find it a go-to source for everything you ever wanted to know about loyalty and customer relationship marketing.

 
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