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Executives To Watch

Lots of publications, news organizations and bloggers write annual “Executives to Watch” columns. They usually chose very visible CEOs and others whose names are in the news all the time.

As a recent buyer of a Droid phone, three executives that I want to watch are Vic Gundotra, Vice President, Engineering, Sundar Pichai, Vice President, Product Management, and Mario Queiroz, Vice President, Product Management – all with Google, which is responsible for the Android operating system.

Google recently held its Google I/O event in San Francisco, hosting 5000 developers who attended 80 sessions, 100 demonstrations, with deep technical content featuring Android, Google Chrome, Google APIs, GWT, App Engine, open web technologies.

Vic Gundrota in particular made strident points about how Android 2.2 is so much better than Apple’s I-Phone. He particularly bashed Apple for pushing a closed rigid system, and said Android was so much more open, and added to the debate started by Steve Jobs about whether users are focused on applications or search on mobile devices.

Google, partnering with many phone makers including most notably Motorola, have been hyping Android based phones, and the Motorola Droid as “I-Phone Killers”. If you check the forums and user boards for both phones, you will find complaints galore on both sides.

I think the Google execs are at a crossroads on this issue. What Vic, Sundar and Mario do over the next year will be key to whether Google really can “take over” this market space from Apple. Sure lots of people are buying Android based phones (100,000 a day), but will they really make the functionality superior? We’ll watch and see….