No corporate executive's movements are tracked with as much rumor and fanfare as those of Google chairman Eric Schmidt. When he travels, it carries the import of a state visit; commentators scrutinize his intentions, and how world leaders will react. Such was the case with Schmidt's junket this week to North Korea, which he apparently made at the invitation of ex-governor, ex-diplomat, ex-cabinet secretary Bill Richardson, who was trying to get an American detainee out of the clink. Though Google said that the trip was "personal," the press still wondered what business upside there could be in publicly touring one of the world's most repressive nations.
Yes, Google stands to profit from North Korea—eventually. But that's probably not why Schmidt made the trip.