Google’s reclusive co-founder Larry Page has always been challenging to track down, more so over the past year. But it seems that the 48-year-old billionaire has been doing more throughout the pandemic than just twiddling his fingers at home.
Page has apparently been living off the grid on the island of Tavarua in Fiji and has been helping the country fight the onslaught of the novel coronavirus. It has also been alleged that he bought Namotu, a smaller island within the vicinity, in August of last year.
According to a news report aired by the Fijian Broadcasting Company (FBC) last June, Page flew from Hawaii to bring much-needed medical supplies and personal protective equipment (PPEs) like face masks, hospital scrubs, and surgical gloves into the country. However, the Fiji government asked the FBC to remove the story from its website and other sources. Officials complained that the information was not supposed to be made public.
But acts of this nature are typical of Page, who has been trying to keep out of the limelight since he stepped down as CEO of Alphabet, Google’s parent company, in 2019.
COVID-19 travel restrictions have hammered Fiji’s economy, so the government has relaxed some access rules for wealthy people to try to lure more spending and investment.
In a blog post published by sailor Lorenzo Cipriani on 4 August 2020, he claimed that when he took a trip to Fiji, super yachts were more than welcome in the area compared to smaller boats that are subject to stricter access procedures. To illustrate, Cipriani also reported that Google’s Page bought Namotu island and arrived via private jet. While staying in Fiji, Page is allegedly serviced by tourism service agencies and local suppliers.
A stark contrast
Page moved to Fiji together with his wife research scientist Lucinda Southworth and their two children. Insiders say that the family is living a relatively quiet life in the tropical paradise and continues to devote their time in philanthropic acts for the people of Fiji.
This simple, low-key approach to living off the grid stands in stark contrast with the lifestyle chosen by Page’s fellow Google founder Sergei Brin. Brin was recently spotted taking advantage of relaxed travel restrictions in Italy where he, his wife, and their friends enjoyed a luxurious vacation.
Page’s philanthropy notwithstanding, the company he and Brin founded is currently in hot water with the US government.
Bust the antitrust
Earlier this month, a sizable number of US state attorneys-general filed a landmark 144-page antitrust suit against Google, citing its violation of the Sherman Act, which prohibits monopolistic corporate practices.
Plaintiffs claim that the search engine titan used anticompetitive strategies to cripple their competitors when it came to the distribution of mobile apps via its Google Play online marketplace. The claim states that Google didn’t just target potential competitors, but it also ensured that developers had no other choice but to distribute their work through Google Play.
As of press time, the suit is still ongoing.