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Google's Eric Schmidt says he didn't push hard enough for deal with Facebook

Schmidt at D9

Sometimes being CEO means having to say you're sorry.

That's just what Google Chairman Eric Schmidt did on Tuesday evening at a technology conference. He admitted that he tried unsuccessfully to team up with Facebook, which posed a major competitive threat to Google's advertising business, but that the social-networking phenom rebuffed his efforts.

 But, said Schmidt, who stepped down as chief executive in April to turn over day-to-day control to co-founder Larry Page, he should have pushed harder.

"Three years ago I wrote memos talking about this general problem. I knew that I had to do something and I failed to do it," he said during a 90-minute onstage interview at the D9 conference organized by the influential technology blog AllThingsD.

"A CEO should take responsibility," he said. "I screwed up."

Schmidt said Facebook is one of the "Gang of Four" -- Facebook, Google, Apple and Amazon -- growing faster than ever before. Notably missing from the list: Microsoft.

Investors have complained that Google is not moving quickly enough to counter the rapid rise of social networking. Schmidt said Page in his second stint as CEO would move even more quickly than Schmidt did.

The key advantage for Facebook: It knows who you are. If Google had the same insight, it could deliver better search results, Schmidt said.

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-- Jessica Guynn

Photo: Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, right, is interviewed onstage by Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg. Credit: Asa Mathat / All Things D

 
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