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
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
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
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