Sat Nov 1 12:21:43 GMT 2003 Google IPO
Slashdot upset me by reporting that Google might be bought by Microsoft. Turns out that was not quite the case: apparently the two did talk, but Google has decided to go the IPO route, though possibly in an unusual way.
Microsoft wants to control everything, and search is a pretty important part of that, so it's expected that they will go after this market. However, buying Google has some wrinkles: for one thing, Google is powered by Linux. While Microsoft of course wouldn't have to worry about the expense of replacing all those Linux OSes (though they might have to upgrade hardware: Windows always needs more horsepower), you have to wonder what the porting effort would involve. Only Google knows that, but I can't think it would be trivial, and there is the real risk that performance would suffer. Highly embarrassing for Microsoft, of course.
And then there's the trust factor. While we have no particular reason to trust Google implicitly, we have no real distrust of them either, because they have no apparent axe to grind. Microsoft isn't quite in that position, and it is easy to imagine that both advertisers and users might abandon Googlesoft in large numbers. I know I would pull my ads, and would certainly use other search engines if this did happen.
However, it looks like there's nothing to worry about for now. If Google does handle its own IPO as rumored, I'm definitely going to look at putting some money into it, if for no other reason than to help keep the Microsoft Wolves at bay. I think Google would be both a good investment and a socially responsible choice. Count me in.
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