Some of Google’s core product areas, like search and YouTube, have the enviable duty of retaining market dominance. Others, like its Android mobile operating system, get to be the free-wheeling disruptor. Google Commerce, meanwhile, has the perennial chore of trying to gain ground versus a vareity of well-established payments competitors ranging from PayPal on the web to Apple’s iTunes and Amazon on mobile.
So, it’s not that surprising to hear about a reorganization within the commerce area as Google tries to figure this space out, as we and others did yesterday. Stephanie Tilenius, one of the two executives that Google poached from PayPal a couple years ago, has been moved to the side, according to two industry sources I’ve spoken with.
Google PR gave us and All Things D the same statement regarding the matter, and didn’t say much more: “Stephanie is moving to a new role where she will oversee global strategy and work with key partners to expand our commerce efforts internationally.” Her title hasn’t changed, and no one has been promoted to take her spot. But here’s what I’ve pieced together.
She was previously overseeing Google Checkout, which has been folded together with Google Wallet. The other PayPal executive who came over with Tilenius, Osama Bedier, is also in charge of Wallet. They previously had relatively shared duties, with Bedier being the “functional lead” and Tilenius above him on the org chart. Due to the change, Tilenius, Bedier, and the other functional leads in commerce, like Sameer Samat for Offers and Shopping, are all reporting directly to Jeff Huber, Google’s senior vice president for Commerce and Local. So, she’s not in charge of things that she used to be.
Tilenius has over a decade of payments industry experience, but her two years at Google haven’t been as mind-blowing as the company no doubt hoped when it hired her — a third industry source also tells us that she’s gotten mixed reviews inside and outside the company. As of today, only two phones from one mobile carrier currently support Wallet, and Verizon has blocked it, as Business Insider notes. And it probably hasn’t helped that PayPal owner eBay sued Google over the allegation that Tilenius and Bedier brought its trade secrets with them.
Maybe this reorganization will help Google finally make the payment market share it’s been trying for through all these years?