Speaking at an investor conference hosted by Credit Suisse First Boston, Google Chief Financial Officer George Reyes said the company’s aggressive hiring efforts are, in part, designed to increase Google’s size as it prepares to face off with a larger, wealthier rival – presumably a reference to Microsoft.
“Our objective is to get to substantial scale as quickly as possible,” Reyes said, because that lets you “brace yourself to compete with anybody, within reason.”
Reyes also said that Google’s September secondary offering of stock was mainly designed to build “a defensive war chest” against competitors.
This is an admission that Google sees only its own risks in the road ahead, as it is all defensive strategy and added costs that define the company’s strategy.
John Battelle, who has studied Google as deeply as anyone, had this say earlier today in Thinking About Google and The Turning Point:
In seven short years, Google has gone from a geeky startup with one good idea into an agenda-shaping player responsible for navigating complex relationships with world governments, the personal privacy of millions, major trade organizations, and hundreds of thousands of businesses small and large. It’s an extraordinary weight to bear, it seems to me. It’s the kind of position that requires a balanced mixture of leadership, will, and diplomacy. There’s very little room for the go-it-alone mentality which got the company to where it stands today. Can the company shift its culture and avoid the fate which ultimately hobbled Microsoft? That, more than anything else, will define the next chapter in the company’s fascinating story.
And Fred Wilson adds in his posting about John’s Google comments in The “Worm Turning” Moment:
John says the “worm turning” moment is “when the world realizes that the company is *too powerful* and its ambitions are *too great.*”
If that is the definition, then we’ve clearly reached that moment, maybe as long ago as last year.
I, too, have been saying Google’s over-reaching and broad-ranging product offerings of recent months, combined with its belief that adding searchability to any content is sufficient to justify extensive changes in other firms’ business models, is ample evidence that the company has decided to go its own way, come Hell or high water. Microsoft isn’t the only model for such hubris, as many companies have believed their early growth established a right to manifest destiny; Microsoft is one of the few that have survived that decision.