Google's Schmidt: Seer or sucker?

Google (Nasdaq:GOOG) Chairman Eric Schmidt has the pay TV sector buzzing after he reportedly told the U.K.'s The Globe and Mail over the weekend that he expects all TV manufacturers to adopt Google TV within the next five years. His comments have largely been viewed as bold and brash--and possibly unrealistic--given that Google TV has faced poor product reviews, broadcaster boycotts and sharp price drops within months of its launch.

eric schmidt

Google's Eric Schmidt

However, a closer reading of Schmidt's statement leaves it sounding less brash: "Virtually all the television manufacturers on their very high end will eventually adopt Google TV... or perhaps one of the competitors that will emerge," he said in The Globe and Mail story.

Schmidt also called Google TV a beta product. Google over the years has been criticized for taking a sometimes arrogant or aloof approach to new markets and opportunities. The latter half of Schmidt's comment and his "beta" description make it sound, on the contrary, like the company recognizes the challenge ahead for Google TV. Still, Schmidt might not have been moved to be so conciliatory if Google TV had come out in its first few weeks and destroyed the competition.

Also, don't forget that Schmidt was essentially trying to build some excitement around the imminent launch of Google TV marketing efforts in Europe.

In any case, Google has five years to make Schmidt look like a seer, and a lot can happen in five years.

For more:
-here's The Globe and Mail story

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