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Sundar Pichai claps back at Microsoft's CEO after his comments about making Google 'dance'

Ana Altchek   

Sundar Pichai claps back at Microsoft's CEO after his comments about making Google 'dance'
  • Google's CEO clapped back at Satya Nadella's comments about making Google dance with the "new Bing."
  • Sundar Pichai said one of the ways you can go wrong is by listening to someone else's music.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella once said he hopes the "new Bing" will make Google "come out and show that they can dance."

"And I want people to know that we made them dance, and I think that'll be a great day," Nadella said in February 2023 after it launched the revamped Bing search engine it made with OpenAI.

But Google CEO Sundar Pichai likes to listen to his own music, he said in a new interview with Bloomberg published Wednesday.

"One of the ways you can do the wrong thing is by listening to noise out there and playing to someone else's dance music," Pichai said in the interview, in response to Nadella's remarks.

Microsoft did not respond to a request for comment.

Microsoft announced its "New Bing," powered by OpenAI in February 2023. Nadella previously told The Verge that he waited 20 years to compete with Google, and it "should have been the default winner" of the Big Tech AI race.

Despite Google's early investment in AI and all of its resources and talent, Microsoft started off leading the AI race when it partnered with OpenAI and the new Bing and 365 Copilot, an AI-powered productivity tool for Microsoft apps.

Meanwhile, Google was caught flat-footed.

When ChatGPT launched in 2022, Google reportedly issued a "code red" to employees about the potential threat to its search business. The company also refocused its AI strategy following the new competition.

Soon after, Google launched its AI chatbot Bard, now called Gemini. Later, when it announced upgrades, Google faced almost immediate backlash for inaccurate depictions of historical figures created by the image-generator tool.

But the tech giant is catching up, capitalizing on its massive user base to promote its AI products.

Google recently announced it's building its own AI chips. It's also ramping up its AI efforts with a series of cloud advancements, the general availability of TPU v5p, the new release of Gemini 1.5, and various AI additions to Google Workspace.

It's also been restructuring its teams and cutting staff over the last year to make room for its biggest priorities, namely AI advancement. In 2023, Google reduced its workforce by about 6% and thousands of layoffs have come in waves so far in 2024.

Pichai told Bloomberg that AI is in its earliest stage and competition is always a part of working in the tech space.

"It's happening at a faster pace, but you know technology changes tend to get faster over time," Pichai said in the interview. "So it's not surprising to me at all."

"I think we have a clear sense of what we need to do," Pichai added.

Meanwhile, Google is still dominating search compared to Bing — something Nadella acknowledged in the time since his remarks about making his rival dance.

"I think when you have 3% share of global search and you're competing with somebody who has 97%, even a small gain here and there is an exciting moment," Nadella told Mathias Döpfner, CEO of Business Insider's parent company, Axel Springer, in an October interview. "But Google is a very strong company, and they are going to come out strong."

"Google has a number of structural advantages right there: they already have the share, they control Android, they control Chrome," Nadella added. "I always say that Google makes more money on Windows than all of Microsoft. It keeps us grounded."

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