It's odd, sometimes, the contortions reporters will go through to make a story out of nothing — especially when they miss the real one. Take, for example, this report from IDG News about the planned departure of Intuit CEO Steve Bennett. The subhead of the article: "Intuit chief executive's resignation is not tied to April tax database snafu." The first sentence: "Four months after a database problem prevented thousands of U.S. users from paying their taxes on time, Intuit Inc.'s chief executive announced plans to step down." Obsessed with an embarrassing, expensive, but ultimately meaningless, glitch in Intuit's tax-prep software, IDG misses what's interesting about Bennett stepping down in December to make way for Intuit SVP Brad Smith.
Intuit has long had unusually close links with Google. The company's chairman, Bill Campbell, though not credited for it, has long been an important advisor to Google CEO Eric Schmidt and company founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin. And the two companies share a campus in Mountain View.
Smith, currently in charge of the company's QuickBooks accounting software and related small-business products, will become CEO in January 1. And if anything, you can expect relations between Intuit and Google to become tighter. Smith, after all, helped negotiate a deal between the companies to integrate QuickBooks and AdWords, Google's text ads that have proved popular with small businesses.
If anything, in fact, Smith would be the logical architect of a merger between Google and Intuit. They share a common enemy in Microsoft. Google has demonstrated skills in Web-based software, while Intuit has an extremely loyal small-business customer base.
And best of all, buying Intuit would give Google much-needed real estate adjacent to its current headquarters. Even with plans to slow down out-of-control hiring, Google could use more room close to home. And that's one thing only Intuit can offer.