There’s been lots of speculation over the impending Google IPO. Impending might be a strong word since the company has been pretty quiet about it. This article at RedHerring talks about the pros and cons of a public offering, with a slight negative conclusion.
While everyone else is talking about whether Google can pull off a successful IPO in this market, what I find interesting is the question of what would happen to the company if it were to go public. Google has been able to make the “right” decisions time and again through the past several years, even when they went against conventional wisdom. How do you think Wall Street would have reacted to the following moves:
- Launching a search engine in 2000
- Designing a home page without ads
- Introducing text-only ad formats
- Buying Deja.com, a failing dot-com with little revenue
A publicly-traded Google would have enormous pressure to meet quarterly growth targets and per-share profitability. These goals will always take away from the longer-term goals of developing long-term relationships with consumers and building innovative products. Sure, some companies have been able to keep the balance between short- and long-term priorities straight for years, but the managers at these companies know they’re always one bad quarter away from hard choices.