Sundar Pichai vs Satya Nadella: Here’s how Alphabet CEO responded to Microsoft boss’ ‘Wanna Make Google Dance’ taunt

Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai had a comeback to Microsoft boss Satya Nadella’s taunt of making the tech giant dance after the his firm took a lead in AI-powered innovation with the ‘new’ Bing. 

Pichai, in an interview to The Circuit with Emily Chang, said he is focused and preferred not to “play to someone else’s dance music.” 

“People tend to focus in this micro moment, but it is so small in the context of what’s ahead,” Pichai said. “When I look at the opportunities ahead, across everything we do, I put a lot of chips, at least from my perspective, on Google.”

In an interview with Verge in February 2023, Nadella said how he wanted Google dance amid their latest Bing chatbot’s launch. He further added, “I want people to know we made them dance!”. 

Pichai said AI was Google’s focus since 2016, when ChatGPT-maker OpenAI was still in infancy. Google may have missed the chatbot moment but Pichai doesn’t seem worried. “We weren’t the first company to do search. We weren’t the first company to do email. We weren’t the first company to build a browser,” he says. “So I view this AI as we are in the earliest possible stages.”


“We got it wrong,” Pichai, 51, said on the Gemini incident, calling it a case of good intentions gone awry. “From the ground up we are retraining these models, just to make sure we are also making the product better,” he says. “As soon as it’s ready, we will get it out to people.” He predicted the feature will be re-released in a few weeks.

Amid Current and former employees have criticized Pichai’s leadership style as too cautious and consensus-driven. “The reality I think is quite different,” Pichai argues. “I think the larger the company is, you are making fewer consequential decisions, but they need to be clear and you have to point the whole company to that.” 

Last month, Google also fired dozens of engineers who protested the company’s cloud contract with the Israeli government, in what Pichai describes as an unacceptable disruption of daily business. “It has nothing to do with the matter or the topic they’re discussing. It’s about the conduct of how they went about it,” he says. “I view, particularly in this moment with AI, the opportunity we have ahead of us is immense, but it needs a real focus on our mission.”

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