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Google's Rules of Acquisition

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the once-you-have-their-money-you-never-give-it-back dept.

Google 115

waderoush writes "For many startup entrepreneurs, getting acquired by Google is the dream exit. But these days Google is getting a lot more discriminating about what kinds of companies it buys — and a lot more careful about how it integrates newly acquired teams. This article offers an in-depth look at how Google achieves a two-thirds success rate with acquisitions, and why things still occasionally go south. 'The return on our acquisition dollars has been extraordinary,' says vice president of business development David Lawee, Google's M&A czar. But Google insiders say it still takes a lot of work to make sure acquired startups go the way of Android (the mobile operating system, acquired in 2005) and not Aardvark (the social search site, acquired in 2010 and shut down in 2011)."

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Aardvark the extension (4, Insightful)

macraig (621737) | more than 2 years ago | (#39256339)

And apparently when Google acquired the company Aardvark they also swung the wrecking ball at the lone developer of the Aardvark extension for Firefox. So in the process of acquiring a lame duck and trying to protect its trademark Google also destroyed one of the best extensions for Firefox.

Thanks, Google.

Re:Aardvark the extension (-1, Troll)

AgentSmitz (2587601) | more than 2 years ago | (#39256373)

Google barely innovates anymore. In fact I don't think they ever have - even their search engine is based on the older search engines. Gmail once again is just arguably done a little better and in beginning was just bigger than others. Otherwise, Google has bought out every other product they offer. Even Microsoft does much more innovating with their Microsoft Research.

Re:Aardvark the extension (3, Informative)

Necroman (61604) | more than 2 years ago | (#39256493)

I see a lot of nice little things come out of google. While they aren't large projects, they produce a lot of useful tools for developers like Guava [google.com] and PlayN [google.com] .

For bigger projects their Mapping tools are pretty amazing and seem to be getting better with time. Their street-view is also really nice. If they pull off self-driving cars it will also be amazing.

Re:Aardvark the extension (1)

SystemicPlural (1405625) | more than 2 years ago | (#39258787)

In what way is this a reply to it's parent? It is a thread jack.

Re:Aardvark the extension (3, Insightful)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 2 years ago | (#39256591)

True innovation is rare and exceptional, and no company can truly rely on being "innovative" except in their marketing catalogues.

Yes, Google's search and email were iterative improvements on previous designs - but so are smartphones, microprocessors, display technologies, storage mediums, and pretty much any other tech initiative. Please list one thing that MS Research has produced that wasn't an iterative improvement on existing technology - and no, kinnect and surface don't count. Both motion capture (kinnect) and touch-screen (surface) are pre-existing technologies that were just done "a little better" than their predecessors.

Re:Aardvark the extension (1)

Psion (2244) | more than 2 years ago | (#39256635)

Check out Google's Summer of Code sometime.

Re:Aardvark the extension (1)

interval1066 (668936) | more than 2 years ago | (#39256865)

even their search engine is based on the older search engines

You wanna qualify that statement?

Re:Aardvark the extension (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 2 years ago | (#39257083)

Well, he's probably right. I mean - Google crawls the web with bots, and catalogs stuff that they find. That's based on a previously existing idea. Never mind that Google does it differently, or that they use their own algorithms, or that the content is ranked based on criteria that can be tailored to your own needs. /sarcasm

Re:Aardvark the extension (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 2 years ago | (#39257119)

....or that it was considered revolutionary when it came out, because its method of indexing was unique...

Re:Aardvark the extension (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 2 years ago | (#39261165)

What made me switch to Google was because their search page wasn't loaded with news, weather, stock prices and banners.

Re:Aardvark the extension (1)

kqs (1038910) | more than 2 years ago | (#39266821)

Neither was alta-vista's. And most search engines had "minimal" pages you could bookmark and use.

I liked google because it was more likely to give me results that I wanted than any other engine.

Re:Aardvark the extension (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 2 years ago | (#39262931)

feeding the troll...

The idea of ranking by links was not a little better, it was a major change in the way things were done. They also threw out meta keyboards, and generated their own list. Major alterations in the search paradigm, and major improvements.

I think the use of AJAX in maps was a major improvement too, but I don't know if that was a purchase or an innovation by them. When I first drug the map, and it filled in as I drug, it was amazing.

Re:Aardvark the extension (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39256399)

googles main business is search.....frankly, IMO the aardvark acquisition was more anti-competition in nature than an attempt to actually integrate anything aardvark in to existing/future google services

Re:Aardvark the extension (5, Informative)

Sneeka2 (782894) | more than 2 years ago | (#39256453)

Correction: Google's main business is ads. They just happen to go very well with search.

Re:Aardvark the extension (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39256625)

What, you thought there was a reason other than non-stop ads behind googles interest in self driving cars ?

Re:Aardvark the extension (2, Interesting)

Anthony Mouse (1927662) | more than 2 years ago | (#39256851)

Correction: Google's main business is ads. They just happen to go very well with search.

Can we please put a stop to this FUD? You're just repeating Microsoft talking points.

Google does not own you. The only way they get access to your eyeballs is with your consent. You are the customer, not the product. It is 2012, people are not products. Advertising is a product. You consume the product. It is a product with negative value, so Google pays you to consume it, in the form of barter for services. They must provide you with enough value to keep you consuming the product, because you are the customer, not the product. You are the customer of the ads and the customer of the services. The advertisers are not customers, they are suppliers. They supply one of the products, the ads. Google provides the other product, the services. Google is in the web service industry, because that is the product they actually make, and the one that actually has value to you, the customer. There are no ads without services.

It bears keeping in mind why the exchange of services for ads takes place. They could charge money instead. The reason that they don't is that the typical customer values their own money more than they value the cost of consuming that amount of advertising. You would rather consume an ad than pay a penny. The advertiser is willing to pay a penny for you to consume an ad. In consequence, instead of a straight transaction of web services for money, we have a three-party transaction where you consume Google web services and pay for them by consuming some third party's advertising, because that transaction is Pareto efficient over the one where you pay money for services. But that doesn't make the provider of web services an advertising company. They're still providing web services and you are still choosing whether to consume them over the alternatives.

Now, you might point out, Google owns Doubleclick and operates an advertising network. And in that respect their business is advertising -- but that isn't their main business. If Google discontinued all of their web services but continued their ad network as supplied to third parties, they would lose the large majority of their revenues. If they kept the web services and then discontinued their internal advertising network and instead used a third party's, they would keep the large majority of their revenues. What does that tell you about which one is their main business?

Re:Aardvark the extension (5, Insightful)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 2 years ago | (#39257089)

You seem to be very confused.

Can we please put a stop to this FUD? You're just repeating Microsoft talking points.

Just because it may be Microsoft talking points does not mean that those points are incorrect, or that they are merely intended as FUD.

Google does not own you. The only way they get access to your eyeballs is with your consent.

Most people never imply that when they say that consumers are the "product". Google is not the only company that does this. There are a ton of other companies out there which provide lead generation services and sell existing databases of leads and demographics.

In that context, the consumer is the product. Specifically, the information about them. Some people don't like the privacy implications about that, which is why every business generally has a privacy policy now. Instead of it just being unsaid, it needs to be said now.

The average user of Google services is the product, the advertisers are the consumer.

The advertisers are not customers, they are suppliers.............The advertiser is willing to pay a penny for you to consume an ad.

That is a contradiction. Which is it? Customers pay money. That's how it works. Otherwise they are not customers. You have buyers and sellers, products, and end users. You can tell which is which by following the money.

Your mental and semantic gymnastics aside, suppliers don't typically pay retail stores. That is like Walmart charging Chinese companies and manufacturers for the privilege of selling their product. That is not how it works (kickbacks aside). Walmart pays for the product from the suppliers, and then delivers it to the consumer in their retail stores.

How does Google operate?

They charge advertisers to put advertisements in front of users. In addition, to a host of other marketing products in which, the people are not charged, but the marketers and advertisers are charged.

This is not FUD, but merely a fact of how Google operates.

The reason why it is always brought up, is because corporations act in the best interests of themselves of the shareholders. Who are they going to satisfy first and foremost (within reason)? The Advertisers because that is where the money comes from one way or the other. Saying otherwise is just strange.

There are extremely few products that a regular consumer can purchase from Google that does not have to do with advertising . Google docs is one that I can think of. Perhaps they may sell mail services too, although I really could not say.

So in the end, people really are the product that Google sells. We don't need hyperbole to imply slavery, loss of freedom, etc. It simply means that Google sells data about you (anonymized or not), and makes its business by putting advertisements in front of you.

To think they put your best interests ahead of their own, or their customers (the advertisers), is just being naive. Do I think they will go too far and jeopardize their relationship with their users to make more money? Perhaps, but unlikely anytime soon. It's a fine line between complete loss of privacy, and giving marketers everything they want. Google will pay attention to what the average user expects for privacy and act accordingly, and will act within the laws that apply to them. A difficult task considering they are a global company and need to operate in some pretty freedom unfriendly countries.

In order for me to buy into your post I would need to believe that Google is going to ignore the people giving them the money to favor people that do not. Sorry, but that makes no sense.

Re:Aardvark the extension (0)

Anthony Mouse (1927662) | more than 2 years ago | (#39257573)

Most people never imply that when they say that consumers are the "product". Google is not the only company that does this. There are a ton of other companies out there which provide lead generation services and sell existing databases of leads and demographics.

Except that they don't sell databases or demographic information.

In that context, the consumer is the product. Specifically, the information about them.

Except that both of those things are wrong. If the information is the product then you are not the product because you are not information. Moreover, information about users is not either of the products. Advertising is one, web services are the other.

The average user of Google services is the product, the advertisers are the consumer.

That would imply that, having bought you, the "product," the advertiser now owns you. Which is clearly wrong.

That is a contradiction. Which is it? Customers pay money. That's how it works. Otherwise they are not customers. You have buyers and sellers, products, and end users. You can tell which is which by following the money.

That isn't how it works. If I go to a tag sale and buy a gadget, I am the customer. If I negotiate to trade my widget for the gadget, I am still the gadget customer, I am just not paying in cash. It has nothing to do with paying money.

More importantly, your argument is at best that the relation is reversed. However, if the advertiser is the consumer then you must be the seller, not the product, because in either event Google is the intermediary. In addition to that, it still ignores that there are two products (web services and advertising) and that you are still the customer of the web services, even if you are the seller of advertising (which is still silly -- you aren't producing advertising, you're consuming it).

Your mental and semantic gymnastics aside, suppliers don't typically pay retail stores. That is like Walmart charging Chinese companies and manufacturers for the privilege of selling their product. That is not how it works (kickbacks aside). Walmart pays for the product from the suppliers, and then delivers it to the consumer in their retail stores.

Except that as I already explained, advertising is a product with negative value to the consumer. It's like industrial waste. Nobody wants it, so you have to pay people to take it from you.

In order for me to buy into your post I would need to believe that Google is going to ignore the people giving them the money to favor people that do not. Sorry, but that makes no sense.

Your argument flies in the face of all empirical evidence. Advertisers want huge, obnoxious, intrusive ads. Users want small, polite, unobtrusive ads. Advertisers want web pages that keep users there for as long as possible to increase the probability that you'll see or click the ads. Users want to find what they're looking for quickly so they can move on. The users won.

You're so fixated on who pays money that you're losing sight of who has the economic power. The advertisers don't pay a dime if there are no users to consume ads. Which means you have to do what the users want, because losing users means losing money.

Re:Aardvark the extension (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39260027)

Except that they don't sell databases or demographic information.

Ha they definitely do. It's just pseudo-anonymous to some extent. Go buy a big campaign from doublelick and find out....

The google defence league is out in full force today! Start bashing Microsoft and Apple, please!

Re:Aardvark the extension (3, Interesting)

swillden (191260) | more than 2 years ago | (#39257593)

That is a contradiction. Which is it? Customers pay money. That's how it works. Otherwise they are not customers. You have buyers and sellers, products, and end users. You can tell which is which by following the money.

The way Google looks at it is that both the users and the advertisers are customers. Of the two, Google focuses the vast majority of its attention on the users, not the advertisers. The reason is that Google largely views the money as a means to an end. The end is to create cool technology that improves peoples' lives.

Okay, I know you're barfing... but I'm telling you that's what people inside Google really talk about and focus on, at all levels, impossible as it may seem to believe of a for-profit corporation. The advertising, and other (much smaller) revenue streams, are seen as an unfortunately-necessary diversion from the main task, one that is justified in part with the idea that advertising can theoretically provide useful information to users, if it's well-targeted and not annoying.

Granted, there's a little cognitive dissonance in this viewpoint. If Google employees were really all about making the world a better place, we'd forgo our nice salaries, expensive offices and all of the well-publicized perks. But it's a cognitive dissonance that rarely comes to the surface, because so far in the company's history, other than the first big concession to reality when Page and Brin decided they could swallow their pride and sell advertising, the money has pretty much rolled in continuously, in ever-increasing amounts, so no one really feels the conflict between do-gooder intent and the necessity of collecting tens of billions of dollars. I mean, thanks to the AdWords auction, Google doesn't even have to dirty itself setting prices. The advertisers set the prices they pay to Google, and they just keep bidding 'em up.

The result is that the academic, blue-sky, make-the-world-better thinking that Google claims, really is how the company's collective culture "thinks", and the "Don't Be Evil" mantra really is important. The funny thing about this situation is that everyone who is used to the way that normal companies behave looks at this and assumes that it must be fake, because no corporation could really be like that. Therefore, it must not only not be true, but there must clearly be a concerted attempt to hide the truth from the world. All this do-gooderness must be a sham front put up to hide some deep, nefarious plot. So, when Google stumbles and does something that isn't so good for the world, people cry "Ah ha! I knew it! They really are Evil!". And even when Google doesn't stumble, widespread skepticism ensues.

All of this, of course, is really annoying and disheartening to Google insiders who spend their days focused on trying to create the next great improvement in Google's services, or the next great service, or even just improving the user experience of what Google does now. And so there is much unhappiness among Google employees about the way some of the world views their selfless work. Unhappiness which is typically expressed while drinking free barista-prepared lattes after a free gourmet lunch before hitting the free gym and then returning to their cubes in posh offices and working on their expensive computers before going home to estimate their next bonus and tot up the value of their next block of stock to vest.

Yes, Google is a weird place. But, honestly, profits really are a second-order concern, because -- so far -- as long as Google has made users happy, advertisers have been happy to keep throwing money. So advertisers really aren't the focus of the vast majority of Googlers.

Re:Aardvark the extension (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39257881)

You work for google. You don't care about advertisers who pay for your coffee,cars,bonuses,gourmet dinner. Your work is selfless. Revenue is an unfortunate diversion. Matt cutts today claimed you to be the smartest team ever assembled without any hint of humility. You guys are so drunk on your own bullshit, and it's the very thing that will some day kill you.

Re:Aardvark the extension (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39258653)

This swillden retard seems to have nothing better to do than post in every Google-related article in order to try to defend Google. Fucking asshole.

Re:Aardvark the extension (1)

Raenex (947668) | more than 2 years ago | (#39258299)

I give Google credit for some good ethics and user focus, especially in the early days, but at the end of the day, Google is a business, and has made many for-profit business decisions that are not driven by thinking about what's best for users.

Re:Aardvark the extension (0)

symbolset (646467) | more than 2 years ago | (#39258775)

You aren't going to convince these guys. Their hatred is a bitter sauce, but they insist on it. It is its own reward though.

Re:Aardvark the extension (1)

Sneeka2 (782894) | more than 2 years ago | (#39258869)

I'll just guess that "these guys" includes me, so I'll respond with:

Whoever said anything about hating? It's you guys that get all emotional, when all we (gee, did this really turn into an us-vs-them?) are saying is that Google makes (virtually) all its money from ads. And that's totally fine. I don't have a problem with that. I like using Google-made stuff. Why can't I matter-of-factly state that the money for all the Google stuff I'm using is coming from ads? Is that a dirty secret somehow?

Re:Aardvark the extension (1)

Neil Boekend (1854906) | more than 2 years ago | (#39259723)

Hear, hear.
I wholehartedly agree. I use Google products, I pay for them with information (costing me privacy, albeit a little) and eye-time (as in ads). I find this a fair trade, but it's a descision everyone needs to make for themselves.

Re:Aardvark the extension (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 2 years ago | (#39261343)

I can't quite tell whether this guff is meant to be serious or not.

If it really is written by a happy Google employee, it does more to make me dislike and mistrust them than any number of anti-Google rants ever could, which in turn leads me to suspect it is some subltle reverse psychology astroturfing.

Re:Aardvark the extension (1)

mattack2 (1165421) | more than 2 years ago | (#39266293)

If Google employees were really all about making the world a better place, we'd forgo our nice salaries, expensive offices and all of the well-publicized perks.

Offices? I thought at Google, the employees didn't have offices. You don't work all out in the open? Are the offices private, or multiple people per office?

Re:Aardvark the extension (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 2 years ago | (#39258721)

Just because it may be Microsoft talking points does not mean that those points are incorrect, or that they are merely intended as FUD.

That is exactly what that means.

He's right. Google's prime motivation is providing killer services. As long as they continue to do that advertisers will have nowhere else to go.

Re:Aardvark the extension (1)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 2 years ago | (#39264887)

No. It doesn't.

There is no FUD. To say that the user is the product and the advertisers are the customer is just a statement of fact, and not a value judgement. Whether or not they are used as talking points by Microsoft is irrelevant, and I have never actually heard that. Saying they are is nonsensical, and very hypocritical on Microsoft's part, because they are trying to do the exact same thing. Provide free services to obtain a large user base to further attract advertising revenue. It's a business model, not a conspiracy.

Google is paid by the advertisers, which makes them the customer. The reason why they are paid is because they strive to create services and an environment that attracts the most users as possible.

However, Google services the advertisers first. It's not that complicated to understand. Google has access to vast amounts of information, a lot of it very personal and sensitive. It is most likely anonymized to outsiders, but nonetheless, exists as a product that is sold to advertisers as part of an overall marketing package. Where the conspiracy may lie is Google giving non-anonymous data over to intelligence agencies of various governments. That would not surprise me, and with the Patriot Act, how could they even talk about it? Once again, not FUD against Google, because all major search engines and service providers are in the same boat.

Of course Google will continue to service the user in the best way possible, but that is a means toward an end. That end being servicing their customers.

I don't believe that Google will put themselves in harms way by pissing off their user base too much. It's always going to be a balancing act. Keeping users happy, and providing valuable products for the advertisers.

My personal decision to refuse to use Google services for anything, and a business decision to never use Google docs, has more to do with my understanding of privacy, the dangers of having personal information in the hands of 3rd parties, and the contracts that govern them. It's not that I think Google is evil.

It is a concern to me that Google continues to enhance and expand their information gathering activities simply because I feel that privacy and anonymity are two of three critical tools for a strong and lasting free society to prosper. The other one is a well armed populace. That is obviously a philosophical and political position I hold.

None of that is FUD against Google specifically. I have never said that Google is screwing you over, only that it could. Therein lies the danger. Act according to your own risk assessment and beliefs.

As for my business decisions, you can't run a business relying on a company where you are not the customer. Free services have no obligations for anything. Paid Google Docs is another matter altogether, and my concern is that some companies still can't afford to do this with sensitive information unless there are some very strict contracts between them and Google where it becomes expressly spelled out what Google's obligations are. For the record, I have just as much of a problem with Office 365.

Re:Aardvark the extension (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39259051)

This is undoubtedly FUD. You're trying to insinuate that because Google gets a particular form of commodity called 'money' from advertisers, it's loyal to advertisers and disloyal to searchers.

In the real life, Google's main business is engineers, because the business of hiring engineers is the class of transactions where it gets most of its value. The fact that it pays to engineers rather than engineers paying for the privilege of working at Google doesn't reverse that.

Re:Aardvark the extension (1)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 2 years ago | (#39259217)

I'm not disagreeing with your main point about Google, but there is one little clarification I'd like to make.

Your mental and semantic gymnastics aside, suppliers don't typically pay retail stores. That is like Walmart charging Chinese companies and manufacturers for the privilege of selling their product. That is not how it works (kickbacks aside). Walmart pays for the product from the suppliers, and then delivers it to the consumer in their retail stores.

In the case of stores like Walmart, or supermarket chains like Safeway, some of the branded manufacturers do pay pretty significant amounts of money for good shelf space and good shelf positioning in their stores. That's really the only way to make money. I could give you some hard numbers, but those numbers are so high -- I'm not even sure you'd believe me if I told you.

And yes, there are Chinese companies and manufacturers that don't have the cash to place upfront, not for the shelving space, and not even for advertising on TV/press, and those companies end up getting squeezed by the stores in other ways -- and they're by far not the largest profit centers for those stores.

 

Re:Aardvark the extension (3, Insightful)

Sneeka2 (782894) | more than 2 years ago | (#39257371)

I love knee-jerk responses just as much as the next guy, but please slowly read again what I wrote.

Does Google make any money from letting you search the web for free? No.
Does Google make shitloads of money from displaying ads next to those free search results? Hell yeah.

So which one is their business?

Re:Aardvark the extension (1)

Anthony Mouse (1927662) | more than 2 years ago | (#39257661)

I love knee-jerk responses just as much as the next guy, but please slowly read again what I wrote.

Does Google make any money from letting you search the web for free? No.
Does Google make shitloads of money from displaying ads next to those free search results? Hell yeah.

So which one is their business?

OK, I'll bite. Let's determine this by taking each one of them away.

If you take away the ads and put up a paywall, do they still make money? Yes. Probably not as much, because paywalls are bunkum, but some significant number of people would subscribe to Google search and they would still make a huge pile of money.

Now, if you take away the search engine and just have a page with ads on it, do they still make money? Of course not. Nobody is going to keep going back to a page that has only ads on it and nobody is going to pay for ads that nobody is looking at.

Re:Aardvark the extension (1)

Sneeka2 (782894) | more than 2 years ago | (#39257815)

Now, if you take away the search engine and just have a page with ads on it, do they still make money?

Of course. Because Google ads are all over the place, not only on google.com/search.
Should they ever decide to get out of one of those two, I'm pretty sure they'd rather get out of the search business than the ad business.

Again, they are doing a lot of stuff. Besides search they also do email, video, social networks and god knows what else. But the only real monetization strategy for virtually all of those "businesses" is ads. Their business is in building interesting stuff that people want to use, so they can get eyeballs on their ads, so they can pay for building interesting stuff that people want to use, so **STACKOVERFLOW**.

Their money, plain and simple, is coming from ads. That's therefore their main business, period. That doesn't mean it's evil, or good, or anything else. It's their reality.

Re:Aardvark the extension (1)

Anthony Mouse (1927662) | more than 2 years ago | (#39257883)

Of course. Because Google ads are all over the place, not only on google.com/search.
Should they ever decide to get out of one of those two, I'm pretty sure they'd rather get out of the search business than the ad business.

Let's not be intentionally thick here. Obviously they have more than one web service. But between discontinuing all the services vs. discontinuing all the ads and finding some other method to monetize the services, the latter is obviously preferable.

But the only real monetization strategy for virtually all of those "businesses" is ads. Their business is in building interesting stuff that people want to use, so they can get eyeballs on their ads, so they can pay for building interesting stuff that people want to use, so **STACKOVERFLOW**.

That isn't what's in dispute. But you're confusing the monetization strategy with the business. You don't say that The New York Times is in the advertising business, you say that they're in the newspaper business, notwithstanding that most of their revenues come from ads. Likewise, you don't say that Ford is in the banking industry just because they sell most of their cars on credit.

Re:Aardvark the extension (1)

Sneeka2 (782894) | more than 2 years ago | (#39257983)

But between discontinuing all the services vs. discontinuing all the ads and finding some other method to monetize the services, the latter is obviously preferable.

Preferable to you and me, obviously. Ask the shareholders though.

But you're confusing the monetization strategy with the business.

If you have a web service with a specific purpose and are monetizing it by putting a $nameOfAgency ad on it, then you're pretty clearly not in the ad business.
If you are both the web service and the ad agency, then you're arguably in the ad business. You are arguably also in the $typeOfWebService business, but your money is exclusively coming from the ad business.

Re:Aardvark the extension (1)

Anthony Mouse (1927662) | more than 2 years ago | (#39261775)

Preferable to you and me, obviously. Ask the shareholders though.

I'm sure the shareholders are happy to keep both the web services and the ads -- it seems to be working out pretty well for them. But the fact remains that they would be a highly profitable company with services but not ads, whereas they would be nobody with ads but no services.

I also think it's worth pointing out why I'm bothering to argue with you. I don't work for Google. I don't own any stock. Nobody is paying me to do this. But I find this [falkvinge.net] to be a profoundly dishonorable, despicable way for Microsoft to do business. So I'm going to do everything I damn well can to make sure it isn't an effective way to do business. This [cnet.com] is not something we should allow Microsoft to get away with.

Re:Aardvark the extension (3, Informative)

Sneeka2 (782894) | more than 2 years ago | (#39258173)

Let me put this another way:

How can you possibly argue that they're not in the advertising business?
Their main business is advertising. It's a fact. And that's all I said. They get (virtually) no revenue from anything else they're doing. That doesn't mean they're not doing anything else, just that their main business is in advertising.

Re:Aardvark the extension (1)

Anthony Mouse (1927662) | more than 2 years ago | (#39260667)

Let me put this another way:

How can you possibly argue that they're not in the advertising business?
Their main business is advertising. It's a fact. And that's all I said. They get (virtually) no revenue from anything else they're doing. That doesn't mean they're not doing anything else, just that their main business is in advertising.

You're still conflating the business with the party who happened to be the last one to touch the money. The main business of a home construction company is not home mortgages. The fact that the bank is the one who physically supplies the money for the house does not make the bank the customer.

The money does not come from ads, it comes through ads. Advertising is like a loan. The advertiser pays for the product the user is buying, then the user pays the advertiser back (non-monetarily). But the ads are not the business, and the value doesn't come from the ads, they're just a Pareto efficient transaction medium -- the value comes from the services. The primary way they increase revenues is not by getting more advertisers, it's by getting more users.

The reason people make a big deal about it is that it's a propaganda point: If they're an advertising company then they must be disreputable shysters like Donald Draper out to mislead you with into buying shit you don't need with money you don't have. But they're not ad men; they don't make ads. They make web services.

Re:Aardvark the extension (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 2 years ago | (#39261769)

If I set up an organisation for the preservation of ring-tailed lemurs, and rely on donations to fund me, I am a charity. My purpose is to help preserve lemurs, my business model is that of a charity.

If I set up a company that publishes free guidebooks for tourists, and is funded by advertising revenue, my business will be a combination of people writing good guidebooks, and a lot of people selling advertising space in those guidebooks.

My business model is that of a company dependeent on advertising revenue. My customers are the advertisers. The tourists picking up their free guidebooks don't pay me anything directly, although obviously the guidebooks have to be of a reasonable quality, get good reviews in foreign travel sections of neewspapers and so on.

The question "is this business purely about the advertisers or purely about the tourist readers" is meaningless. You need both for the business to work.

Re:Aardvark the extension (1)

Anthony Mouse (1927662) | more than 2 years ago | (#39261857)

The question "is this business purely about the advertisers or purely about the tourist readers" is meaningless. You need both for the business to work.

I'm not sure I buy it. The charity is just as dependent on the donors as the guidebook publisher is on the advertisers.

And the "needed for the business to work" criteria just doesn't make any sense. A home construction company isn't going to get any real business if nobody can get a home loan, but that doesn't mean their main business is home mortgages, or that their customers are the banks. That's just how people pay them for their actual business.

Re:Aardvark the extension (1)

Sneeka2 (782894) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268593)

Only one problem with all you're saying:

The reason people make a big deal about it is that it's a propaganda point: If they're an advertising company then they must be disreputable shysters like Donald Draper out to mislead you with into buying shit you don't need with money you don't have.

I have never said or even implied anything like this. I stated that Google is making its money from ads. Which is a fact. And that's all I said. I even said that that's neither good nor evil nor anything else, it's simply a fact. You're confusing what I'm actually saying and what you think I'm saying.

Re:Aardvark the extension (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 2 years ago | (#39261555)

You don't say that The New York Times is in the advertising business, you say that they're in the newspaper business, notwithstanding that most of their revenues come from ads.

I'm not disagreeing with you exactly, but it is certainly the case that a lot of tabloid type newspapers were certainly created in order to make money first and foremost.

Re:Aardvark the extension (1)

Anthony Mouse (1927662) | more than 2 years ago | (#39261893)

I'm not disagreeing with you exactly, but it is certainly the case that a lot of tabloid type newspapers were certainly created in order to make money first and foremost.

OK, sure. But what does it have to do with the funding method? You're just making the point that some people will consume a terrible product and supply follows demand. The crap they print in the tabloids isn't there because the advertisers want it, it's there because the readers want it.

Re:Aardvark the extension (1)

mattack2 (1165421) | more than 2 years ago | (#39266615)

Likewise, you don't say that Ford is in the banking industry just because they sell most of their cars on credit

In the long ago past, wasn't GMAC GM's most profitable division? (I only just found out that Ally bank is what GMAC's banking unit turned into.)

Re:Aardvark the extension (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 2 years ago | (#39261297)

I have to jump in here for just second.
Lets look at the relationships built by Google.

Users: For the most part Google is bending over backwards to ensure their happiness. I get really decent and powerful search tools, a great free email, a phone number that rings all of my phones and allows me to screen calls on my cell phone, storage, and every once in a while I actually get an add that points me to what I wanted in the first place.

Advertisers: They hate Google. Google bans them willie nillie at the first thought of them screwing with Google. Advertisers feel trapped because there is nothing
like Google for their ads and they have no place else to go.

Google does not give a shit about the Ad men. They do not have to. The money just keeps coming. As long as they continue to keep their users highest on the priority list the ad men will continue to flock. If Google stays smart they will make money hand over fist by never giving it a thought.
     

Re:Aardvark the extension (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 2 years ago | (#39261459)

In the UK, we have the BBC and then all the other commercial TV channels.

The latter get their money from advertising. Yes, they have to put on adequately good TV shows so that enough people watch. Their business is making adequately good TV shows, but their income comes from advertising. Same with most newspapers. Same with Google.

I don't see why everyone's arguing about the meaning of words like customer. The business model is perfectly clear.

And BTW the BBC have almost all the best TV programmes.

Re:Aardvark the extension (1)

Anthony Mouse (1927662) | more than 2 years ago | (#39262047)

The latter get their money from advertising. Yes, they have to put on adequately good TV shows so that enough people watch. Their business is making adequately good TV shows, but their income comes from advertising. Same with most newspapers. Same with Google.

You're still not making the right distinction. The distinction you're making is between the quality of products made by for-profit and not-for-profit organizations.

I'll give you an example: NPR [npr.org] is not-for-profit, but they've gone to an ad-based funding model during the recession because the availability of public and private funding has fallen significantly. Their coverage is still far superior to anything produced by News Corp. or Viacom, notwithstanding that they make their money from ads, because they're concerned about making the best product rather than maximizing return on capital.

Now, you can argue that Google would somehow have better products if they were a non-profit that didn't have to care about shareholders, but that has nothing whatsoever to do with whether they use advertising, subscriptions, donations or whatever else as revenues.

Re:Aardvark the extension (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39265317)

Now, if you take away the search engine and just have a page with ads on it, do they still make money? Of course not.

Actually, they'd still make a lot. The search engine is merely the largest AdWords affiliate, but they have a ton of other websites that display AdWords advertisements.

IIRC, Google tracks the revenue produced by the search engine through the AdWords program, so to determine which is their largest business, you'd need to know which product produces the most money. But both products are very profitable, so neither of you is right...their business is both ads and search.

Re:Aardvark the extension (-1, Troll)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 2 years ago | (#39258195)

So tell me, how does Sergey's sphincter taste?

Re:Aardvark the extension (1)

Riceballsan (816702) | more than 2 years ago | (#39258491)

I'd disagree with that statement, ads generate revenue, but the search is why people actually use it. That's like saying every other company's main business is money. Yes their objective and means of making a profit is finding a way to show you an add or make you click them. Just like microsoft and apples main goal is to get you to hand them money directly. That doesn't change the result of many things.

Re:Aardvark the extension (1)

Sneeka2 (782894) | more than 2 years ago | (#39258651)

Just like microsoft and apples main goal is to get you to hand them money directly.

And that's exactly the difference. Google gets its money from advertisers. In fact 99% of their money comes from advertisers. That makes their main business ads. Period. Fact. End of story. Microsoft's business is selling software. Apple's business is selling hardware. Google's business is selling ads. Business == where the money comes from. Yes, Google also does a lot of other stuff with the money they make from ads. I never said otherwise. It's just not their main business. All the other stuff they do helps them to make more money from ads, which helps them make more stuff. If they drop the ad business, they're out of business entirely, because they couldn't pay the bills anymore.

Re:Aardvark the extension (1)

Sneeka2 (782894) | more than 2 years ago | (#39258789)

Let me put this another way: Goals and objectives are not the same as "main business".

I am in the business of flipping hamburgers, but my real "objective" is to send my kids to school with the money I earn doing so. That doesn't mean I'm in the business of sending my kids to school.

Google's "objective" may well be to make a better world for all humans by creating useful online tools. But they're getting their money to do so from their main business: advertising.

Re:Aardvark the extension (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39256459)

Google's main business is advertising. Don't be fooled.

Re:Aardvark the extension (3, Funny)

macraig (621737) | more than 2 years ago | (#39256839)

Those self-driving cars are an advertising plot. Don't be fooled! ;-)

Re:Aardvark the extension (1)

Neil Boekend (1854906) | more than 2 years ago | (#39259743)

It's would not be considered safe to overload someone with ads while he is driving, so we must give them an option without driving.

Re:Aardvark the extension (1)

darrylo (97569) | more than 2 years ago | (#39256505)

For a reasonable replacement for Aardvark, see HackTheWeb: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/hack-the-web/ [mozilla.org]

Re:Aardvark the extension (1)

darrylo (97569) | more than 2 years ago | (#39256533)

(In case it's not clear, "HackTheWeb" is a viable replacement for "Aardvark" the firefox extension, and not "Aardvark" the social search engine.)

Re:Aardvark the extension (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 2 years ago | (#39256833)

Thanks for that. I had tried to create my own private localized implementation of Aardvark, but could never get it to work.

Re:Aardvark the extension (1)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | more than 2 years ago | (#39256853)

And apparently when Google acquired the company Aardvark they also swung the wrecking ball at the lone developer of the Aardvark extension for Firefox. So in the process of acquiring a lame duck and trying to protect its trademark Google also destroyed one of the best extensions for Firefox.

Thanks, Google.

Yeah, I was wondering about that. If the acquired companies product doesn't work out, what happens to it? It won't be produced anymore, but the company still holds the IP rights. So effectively, this line of innovation is killed. Appearantly, Siri -- before acquisition -- was supposed to be for all devices in everyday life (even cars, houses), but with Apple holding their hand on it, it won't come to the consumer.

Re:Aardvark the extension (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 2 years ago | (#39256877)

Note the other comment here that mentions a newer Firefox extension named HackTheWeb, which is effectively a direct descendant of Aardvark. Installed! This will make me a much happier surfer again.

Re:Aardvark the extension (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 2 years ago | (#39260005)

So in the process of acquiring a lame duck and trying to protect its trademark Google also destroyed one of the best extensions for Firefox.

To which Google would say, "Use Chrome!" It's always good when you can achieve multiple objectives at once.

Source? (1)

gottabeme (590848) | more than 2 years ago | (#39266497)

How do you know this?

Re:Source? (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 2 years ago | (#39266623)

Before the extension disappeared the author had posted or blogged something about being approached about the trademark, and he wound up folding and handing it over.

Freeping Creaturitus (1)

Iamthecheese (1264298) | more than 2 years ago | (#39256343)

>Sergey spread this mantra internally that he wanted more features, less products So how does Google avoid becoming the next Yahoo?

obligatory Ferengi reference (4, Funny)

MacColossus (932054) | more than 2 years ago | (#39256345)

Well done Quark Brin! The Grand Nagus will be pleased!

Re:obligatory Ferengi reference (2)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 2 years ago | (#39256439)

Interestingly, Oracle also has a set of rules of acquisition. You can read about them here [memory-alpha.org] .

Re:obligatory Ferengi reference (2)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 2 years ago | (#39261845)

Interestingly, Oracle also has a set of rules of acquisition. You can read about them here [memory-alpha.org] .

Presumably along the lines of " There will be no glory in your sacrifice. I will erase even the memory of Sparta from the histories! Every piece of Greek parchment shall be burned. Every Greek historian, and every scribe shall have their eyes pulled out, and their tongues cut from their mouths. Why, uttering the very name of Sparta, or Leonidas, will be punishable by death! The world will never know you existed at all!"

Re:obligatory Ferengi reference (1)

eugene ts wong (231154) | more than 2 years ago | (#39267953)

Do you know about lung transplants? I'd like to ask about how long the blood bypasses the lungs.

Re:obligatory Ferengi reference (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268125)

In any major heart or lung transplant the patient's own organs must be bypassed for the duration of the surgery. Usually this is as short as possible because the non-rhythmic pumping in a heart and lung machine can cause plaques to break loose and block vessels. The surgery typically lasts anywhere from 4 to 12 hours [nytimes.com] depending on how many lungs are involved.

Amazing given the statistics. (5, Informative)

SexyKellyOsbourne (606860) | more than 2 years ago | (#39256447)

The fact that Google achieves a 66.66% success rate in acquisitions is amazing. Most M&A's have a success rate of 17%.

According to a quote from the Wharton School of Business:

"Various studies have shown that mergers have failure rates of more than 50 percent. One recent study found that 83 percent of all mergers fail to create value and half actually destroy value. This is an abysmal record. What is particularly amazing is that in polling the boards of the companies involved in those same mergers, over 80 percent of the board members thought their acquisitions had created value.

— Robert W. Holthausen, The Nomura Securities Company Professor, Professor of Accounting and Finance and Management

http://executiveeducation.wharton.upenn.edu/open-enrollment/finance-programs/mergers-acquisitions-program.cfm [upenn.edu]

What statistics (4, Insightful)

MushMouth (5650) | more than 2 years ago | (#39256497)

the 2/3rds quote was what Google said they achieve, but there is nothing in the article which actually quantitates it, so I'm going to go with the M&A exec blowing smoke.

Re:What statistics (5, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#39256673)

On the other hand, how does the Wharton School really know what does or does not "create value", and is that the real measurement?

Acquiring a business that runs a real risk of eating your lunch may not actually create any value at the visible level, but you may gain things (patents, customers) that my not appear or may not be visible to outsiders for years. Acquisition is a preventative measure in many cases. Business schools are not in the best position to judge what might have happened had not the merger taken place.

(Actually nobody really is in a good position to judge this, its the experiment not run to completion).

It seldom as simple as adding the net worth of two companies separately and then comparing that to the value after the merger.

Re:What statistics (1)

Herkum01 (592704) | more than 2 years ago | (#39257021)

You are very wrong that "nobody" is a good position to judge this. We have public companies filing documents with the SEC all the time, we have an effective hsitory of at l00 years worth of data. It is not like these people are stupid, there is a lot of information to work with, but you really have to make an effort to gather it together. There are very good business professors who know what they are doing and how they are doing it.

t seldom as simple as adding the net worth of two companies separately and then comparing that to the value after the merger.

I disagree, sometimes IT IS as simple as that. Give a great example, AOL purchasing Time-Warner. If that is not an obvious failure, I have a bridge to sell you.

Re:What statistics (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#39257199)

SEC filings? Really?
Have you read those?

You can hide the Queen Mary in there, and big companies do it all the time. On a scale from ONE to Google you can hide two dozen of these little acquisitions and the revenue or loss that they may generate. These documents simply aren't broken down that fine. Apple hid the entire iPhone development project for three years. There is no requirement that detail line item projects be reported.

AOL is not germane. Nobody ever claimed that was a success. Everybody knew they were going to have a loss there before the ink was dry on the merger documents.

Re:What statistics (1)

ohnocitizen (1951674) | more than 2 years ago | (#39258431)

Business schools ought to be in a great position to judge this. Surely they would have models to factor in M&A in which the target is a competitor, or a resource a competitor was after, etc? The question is, do the various studies cited take those factors into account? (And if not, are there studies that do).

Re:Amazing given the statistics. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39256623)

It's more amazing when you consider how many of Google's own applications go belly up. Then again, that's also the pattern at Apple: most of their software that's either good or popular was bought and then tweaked, and what they've made in-house is largely crap (it's perhaps more obvious to me as a developer for OS X since it first came to market).

Re:Amazing given the statistics. (1)

Dzimas (547818) | more than 2 years ago | (#39257999)

You're comparing apples to uranium. Merging two enormous and well established companies -- Chrysler and Fiat, perhaps -- is a monumental M&A challenge in the traditional sense. Absorbing a 20-person startup into Google is completely different. It's all about taking an existing business idea, extending it, adapting it to Google's architecture and scaling it.

I call BS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39256619)

David Lawee, the company’s vice president of corporate development, says two-thirds of Google’s recent acquisitions have been successful, based on measures such as employee retention and revenues from the acquired teams or products.

There is no standard metric on acquisition success rate, so "two-thirds successful" is the batting average provided by the man whose work is being measured. How does he know he's doing better than his main competition today (as opposed to old Wharton Business School studies)? I bet he doesn't.

Small acquired companies generally come with a customer base and revenue stream that can be quickly enhanced by the marketing resources of the acquiring company, which are orders of magnitude greater and extend worldwide. As for employee retention, few people in the IT business had their resumes on the street during the three year period 2008 - 2010 if they had a decent job.

I think you really need at least four full years to judge the success of any acquisition.

Re:I call BS (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#39256787)

There is no standard metric on acquisition success rate,

Well, in the end, it all comes down to Revenues doesn't it?

Employee retention is merely a means of making sure the revenue flows in the long run. If the guy with access to the books says there was revenue flow from the acquired teams or products sufficient for him to judge it a success, that's good enough for me and doesn't require a great deal of second guessing by people with no knowledge.

Notice the didn't say that loss prevention was a criteria for success, such as buying and shutting down a competitor. He said revenue.
Ka-Ching.

Rule of acquisition #9 (1)

fermion (181285) | more than 2 years ago | (#39256651)

Opportunity plus instinct equals profit.

I think this is what defines many firms, who can take advantage of an opportunity. Google has always been willing to do whatever it takes to monetize a situation.

If they want their money back... (2)

SleepyHappyDoc (813919) | more than 2 years ago | (#39256655)

Give it to them??

Contacting Google is VERY difficult (4, Interesting)

colordev (1764040) | more than 2 years ago | (#39256699)

I made a tool [colordev.com] that can semi-automatically set the colors right in adsense ads; in about 30 seconds
And I thought google might be interested as with their webmaster center tools, the same task takes ~30 minutes (to match the colors to the hosting web-page).
As Adsense is basically their money making machine, so one might think they would be interested to see a demo of that technology - NOT.

As of now there's probably noone at the google who knows about the tool / technology. And it is not because I would not have tried enough. To summarise I tried to call to at least 30 people at the Google headquarters (found couple of answering machines) , I send a message *twice* to all kinds of "business proposal" "partner with google" mailboxes at Google's website. And based on my logs nobody ever came to test drive the tool. And I send a message to Google adsense forum. Still no comment from anyone. And I kept calling google offices around Europe and the most human contact was with the telephone answering machine. Well, except in spain and (I think) Norway? there was a receptionis who said she was just a hired office receptionist not working for google and there's noone at google she could connect me to.

And, here in Finland, I saw Google opened office in Oulu, So I went there and meet em in person. And at the lobby hall I said I have a tood / demo that might interest Google. But no, she basically run away without checking the demo. Later last summer I challenged someone who had been co-operating with Googles Finnish leader Anni Ronkainen to try to get her to check the demo. But as this helpful person tried to reach CEO Anni Ronkainen, she never came back to this PhD lecturer person with whom she actually had agreed partisipate at a seminar later. And I send Anni couple sms - messagea asking to contact me - no reply. And someone suggested I might be able to connect Google people through one ad agency that does online-ad campaings with google, no that didn't work eather. And it didn't work eather through another guy who had written PhD thesis online advertisement - even he wan's able to contact anyone there - PhD guy was at least facined about the technology.)

To summarize, my experience is that nobody works at Google. The company is probably a front office and run by Skynet or something.

Re:Contacting Google is VERY difficult (1)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 2 years ago | (#39259319)

I made a tool [colordev.com] that can semi-automatically set the colors right in adsense ads; in about 30 seconds

What is your goal for this technology? Do you want to sell the idea? Do you want them to hire you? Do you want them to take you over? By the way, that page doesn't work in Chromium (on Ubuntu), although it worked on Firefox. I assume it probably doesn't work on Chrome (on Windows) either.

And I thought google might be interested as with their webmaster center tools, the same task takes ~30 minutes (to match the colors to the hosting web-page).

Yes, they may be interested, but one problem is that they could be liable to you if they ever implement your idea after having just seen the demo from you. And in at least one case I heard of, they weren't liable, but they got such bad press from doing something similar to an idea that was demoed to them, that they ended up abandoning the entire project as a result.

Re:Contacting Google is VERY difficult (1)

colordev (1764040) | more than 2 years ago | (#39262187)

What is your goal for this technology?

Using this technology webmasters can optimize Adsense colors,borders&fonts so quickly, that any webmaster could make several versions of each ad. This would allow Google to measure the performance of each of those "approved" ad formats. And then choosing to use those that are most attractive and most profitable.

The current Adsense ad-setting technology is slow and cumbersome as webmasters need to (by hand) adjust hex values for text, border and background colors and font-sizes and font-types, trying to imagine how that combination of those would look like when placed on a target web-page. And still after half an hour of fine-tuning, the webmaster will have no idea if that ad is going to be attractive or not.

Google knows their technology is cumbersome and probably for that reason they have chosen to limit the available ad design options. My technology is easy to use and allows creating various background textures, 3D-effects and gradients to be put into ad backgrounds in seconds. (I think the "background effects" makes ads that much more better looking.)

Do you want to sell the idea? Do you want them to hire you? Do you want them to take you over?

Yes, to all. I would assume this technology would increase ad click rates by 3-4 percentage points and Google's (and webmasters) Adsense profits by at least 2%. In Google's scale that 2% increase in Adsense profits would amount $200 million annually. I was thinking to sell this technology at a low price. Originally I build it for a Google scale user (with no limiting bottle-necks), as there aren't many other kinds of companies who could use technology like this. It would be rather easy to add to Google's webmaster tools, but yes they would probably want to hire me for implementing it.

By the way, that page doesn't work in Chromium (on Ubuntu), although it worked on Firefox. I assume it probably doesn't work on Chrome (on Windows) either.

Ouch & Thanks. I just insalled Chrome to winxp and Chromium to Ubuntu 32-bit and it worked on both. Maybe you have 64-bit Ubuntu?. Before posting to /. I just briefly checked with Ununtu-Firefox that the tool is still there :)

Re:Contacting Google is VERY difficult (1)

vinlud (230623) | more than 2 years ago | (#39259321)

They're all on Google+ I guess :)

Google's Rules of Acquisition (4, Funny)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 2 years ago | (#39256713)

1 Once you have their money ... never give it back.
3 Never pay more for an acquisition than you have to.
6 Never allow family to stand in the way of opportunity.
6 A man is only worth the sum of his possessions.
7 Keep your ears open.
8 Small print leads to large risk.
9 Opportunity plus instinct equals profit.
10 Greed is eternal.
13 Anything worth doing is worth doing for money.
16 A deal is a deal ... until a better one comes along.
17 A contract is a contract is a contract (but only between Ferengi).
18 A Ferengi without profit is no Ferengi at all.
19 Satisfaction is not guaranteed.
21 Never place friendship above profit.
22 A wise man can hear profit in the wind.
23 Nothing is more important than your health--except for your money.
27 There's nothing more dangerous than an honest businessman.
31 Never make fun of a Ferengi's mother ... insult something he cares about instead.
33 It never hurts to suck up to the boss.
34 Peace is good for business.
35 War is good for business.
40 She can touch your lobes but never your latinum.
41 Profit is its own reward.
44 Never confuse wisdom with luck.
45 Expand, or die.
47 Don't trust a man wearing a better suit than your own.
48 The bigger the smile, the sharper the knife.
52 Never ask when you can take.
57 Good customers are as rare as latinum -- treasure them.
58 There is no substitute for success.
59 Free advice is seldom cheap.
60 Keep your lies consistent.
62 The riskier the road, the greater the profit.
65 Win or lose, there's always Hyperian beetle snuff.
75 Home is where the heart is ... but the stars are made of latinum.
76 Every once in a while, declare peace. It confuses the hell out of your enemies.
79 Beware of the Vulcan greed for knowledge.
82 The flimsier the product, the higher the price.
85 Never let the competition know what you're thinking.
89 Ask not what your profits can do for you, but what you can do for your profits.
94 Females and finances don't mix.
97 Enough ... is never enough.
99 Trust is the biggest liability of all.
102 Nature decays, but latinum lasts forever.
103 Sleep can interfere with profit.
104 Faith moves mountains ... of inventory.
106 There is no honour in poverty.
109 Dignity and an empty sack is worth the sack.
111 Treat people in your debt like family ... exploit them.
112 Never have sex with the boss's sister.
113 Always have sex with the boss.
117 You can't free a fish from water.
121 Everything is for sale, even friendship.
123 Even a blind man can recognize the glow of latinum.
139 Wives serve, brothers inherit.
141 Only fools pay retail.
144 There's nothing wrong with charity ... as long as it winds up in your pocket.
162 Even in the worst of times someone turns a profit.
177 Know your enemies ... but do business with them always.
181 Not even dishonesty can tarnish the shine of profit.
189 Let others keep their reputation. You keep their money.
192 Never cheat a Klingon ... unless you're sure you can get away with it.
194 It's always good business to know about new customers before they walk in the door.
202 The justification for profit is profit.
203 New customers are like razortoothed grubworms. They can be succulent, but sometimes they can bite back.
211 Employees are rungs on the ladder of success. Don't hesitate to step on them.
214 Never begin a negotiation on an empty stomach.

Shamelessly stolen from here: http://www.sjtrek.com/trek/rules/ [sjtrek.com]
I had to leave out the last few rules because /.'s spam filter insists on 40 characters per line

Re:Google's Rules of Acquisition (1)

physburn (1095481) | more than 2 years ago | (#39256977)

I know Ferengi would pop up at the mention of Acuquistion. But the sweet smell of stamp press latinum is?

Re:Google's Rules of Acquisition (1)

minstrelmike (1602771) | more than 2 years ago | (#39264273)

You forgot: Don't BUY evil.

is this a southern joke? (1)

SebaSOFT (859957) | more than 2 years ago | (#39256769)

Or an outsourcing reference? Either way, greetings from south america.

Fluff article (4, Informative)

slasho81 (455509) | more than 2 years ago | (#39256961)

I read TFA. Yes, I know - I must be new here, etc.

Let me save you time. It's the usual self-congratulating corporatespeak. Basically, they discovered it's a good idea to have a good fit between Google and the acquired startup, and a bunch of other common sense "rules" anyone with half a brain could come up with.

Re:Fluff article (1)

Jonner (189691) | more than 2 years ago | (#39256993)

I read TFA. Yes, I know - I must be new here, etc.

Let me save you time. It's the usual self-congratulating corporatespeak. Basically, they discovered it's a good idea to have a good fit between Google and the acquired startup, and a bunch of other common sense "rules" anyone with half a brain could come up with.

What you may be missing is that unlike most corporate executives, Googles' brains don't seem to have melted and drifted down or dribbled out their ears yet.

Re:Fluff article (1)

cshark (673578) | more than 2 years ago | (#39257501)

I wouldn't discount them that easily. Just in general.

2/3 of all statistics are bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39257939)

My stat is more accurate than yours

Ferengi (1)

glitch0 (859137) | more than 2 years ago | (#39259245)

Ferengi rules of acquisition, anyone?

Man (1)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | more than 2 years ago | (#39259769)

I miss the Ferengi...

What? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39260849)

getting acquired by Google is the dream exit? Are you mad? It's better to let the company grow and see inimaginable numbers in the bank. For the God's sake... selling a good company to Google is the worst you can do in your life. Grow up!

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39262167)

getting acquired by Google is the dream exit? Are you mad? It's better to let the company grow and see inimaginable numbers in the bank. For the God's sake... selling a good company to Google is the worst you can do in your life. Grow up!

Given that an overwhelming majority of startups fail, and that ten years is longer than most software ecosystems, is a multimillion-dollar payday really that bad?

Unless your name is Bill Gates, $640M oughta be enough for anyone, and even $640K would be a nice hunk of change. I'd far rather have $640K in cash today than a less-than-50% probability of having $1.2M or nothing five years from now.

Once the check clears, who cares if they wipe the hard drives, demolish the office, and salt the earth?

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39263013)

As a part of a company that was acquired by the big g, I think that's right. We sold for what we thought was a good price at the time. A year or two later, we saw companies in the same space going IPO at 10+ times the valuation we got. Well... at least the lunches (and gyms and free coffee and... ) were great while I was there. Not going to make the same mistake in my next startup.

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