updated 01:25 am EST, Sun January 9, 2011
Twitter battling to get Google Chrome OS lead
Twitter is in the midst of a recruiting attempt that could cost Google its Chrome OS leader, insiders said Saturday night. The microblog creator would take Product Management VP Sundar Pichai away from work on Chrome and Chrome OS to be Twitter's own product lead. Google was already aware of the attempt and is "fighting hard" to give Pichai a reason to stay, AllThingsD said.
Google has lately had to take extreme measures to keep employees from jumping ship to competitors, primarily Facebook. Claims have surfaced of engineers being offered rewards ranging over a million dollars to keep them onboard. Executives have been a regular target, but rarely ones as influential as Pichai.
Twitter turned down an opportunity to comment, while Google hadn't responded as of the time of this writing.
A departure could compound the problems surrounding Chrome OS. Google had to delay the web app-focused platform several months, to mid-2011, after it unsuccessfully tried to revamp the OS in time for a holiday release. Losing Pichai would carry the risk of leaving the computer OS directionless until a suitable replacement arrived.
Critics, including Gmail pioneer Paul Buchheit, have argued that Chrome OS flawed from the start as it largely duplicated features Android could already manage but on a computer platform. The former Google employee predicted Chrome OS would die or merge with Android, possibly within the year.