Buzzfeed has the story, and it’s remarkably short, and has the ring of truth to it.
It’s worth noting because this is how decisions are really made in tech, and probably every other industry.
Larry Page says Meh! to RSS and readers. He doesn’t use Google Reader.
When it comes up at meetings, if it ever does, the person who brought it up is the subject of jokes.
It keeps running for months if not years on its own, with no one working on development.
Every time there’s a cleanup, Google Reader is at the top of the list. Someone says “Oh but there are a lot of users and a bunch of them are reporters.” So they keep it running for a little while longer.
Then, to make a point that he wants people to focus, a first-level report of Page’s puts it on the shutdown list, despite the objections. Everyone shrugs.
They write a blog post with some BS about how everyone gets news now on their Android phone, something that’s sure to make LP happy if he ever sees it.
A few months later it shuts down. Google survives.