- G is for Google
Fundamentally, we believe this allows us more management scale, as we can run things independently that aren’t very related. Alphabet is about businesses prospering through strong leaders and independence. In general, our model is to have a strong CEO who runs each business, with Sergey and me in service to them as needed. We will rigorously handle capital allocation and work to make sure each business is executing well. We'll also make sure we have a great CEO for each business, and we’ll determine their compensation. In addition, with this new structure we plan to implement segment reporting for our Q4 results, where Google financials will be provided separately than those for the rest of Alphabet businesses as a whole.
- 26 reasons Google created Alphabet
There are two ways of looking at Google right now. The first is that it’s a hugely successful search company which is frittering away its money on crazy projects like self-driving cars and next-generation contact lenses. The second is that it’s a hugely successful search company which is making smart, high-risk, long-term bets which, if they pay off, could be worth trillions of dollars. Either way, it’s a search company. And Google wants to be more than that.
- 5 Questions About Google's Alphabet Shakeup
What happened to Omid Kordestani?
He’s stepping back. Google’s Employee No. 11, returned last year as chief business officer when Nikesh Arora left for Softbank. Worth noting: When Page announced Kordestani’s return, he said it was “for now.” With Pichai running the revenue-generating products, Kordestani becomes adviser to Google and Alphabet, and the “CBO” title vanishes. That wasn’t mentioned in Page’s announcement; you had to find it in the SEC filing.
- Google Surprises Everyone By... Breaking Itself Up (Kinda)
Frankly, the whole thing seems to be leaving a lot of people scratching their heads (myself included). It may turn out to be nothing beyond just a different take on a corporate restructuring -- or it may be a prelude to the company doing something much bigger that would fit much more readily into this holding company structure.
- Alphabet is bringing Google up to date on corporate legal tricks
The result won't change Google's tax bill much (R&D expenses are deductible under either structure), but the liability concerns are real, and many of the lawyers I spoke to were surprised that Google had kept the X projects so exposed for so long. "You would have thought that each new business would have been set up as its own subsidiary, but apparently that was not the case," said Duane Morris' David Feldman, who has written on the advantages of corporate restructuring in the past. Feldman said he likes the simplicity of Alphabet, as an unusually direct way of getting the protection of subsidiaries. "It's a very clean structure, and it works."
- No, Google's restructuring isn't about cutting taxes
"I know there is a feeling on Wall Street that this maneuver was somehow tax motivated, but the consensus among tax professionals is just the opposite," says Bob Willens, one of the best-known corporate tax advisers on Wall Street for decades. "We do not see any tax advantage to be gained from forming a holding company."
- Why Google's Recent Alphabet Announcement Is Pure Genius
In fact, in my book on The Future of Work I make the argument that many organizations are already too big. These large organizations have survived simply because of their massive resources but this will change. The larger an organization becomes the more sluggish it becomes and agility and adaptability seem farther out of reach. Gary Hamel has actually been talking about this for many years now.
- Google, Alphabet, and the Googlettes
Google has been focused on diversifying their business for a long time, even before their IPO. In August of 2003, they posted a job listing on Craigslist looking for a manager to run their collection of Googlettes, which were essentially startups within Google
- Alphabet Soup
The way I see it, Google is the cash cow that finances all the big bets Larry and Sergey are making inside Alphabet. The public markets get the transparency of seeing how the cash cow is performing and how the entire holding company is performing.
- Do You Trust Larry Page?
The problem for Page, though, is that he is not a strategy and business nerd. Page is, for lack of a better description, a change-the-world nerd, and it seems clear that he found the day-to-day business of managing a very profitable utility to be not only uninteresting but a distraction from what he truly wanted to do. Page declared in Google’s 2004 Founders IPO Letter that “We aspire to make Google an institution that makes the world a better place”, a rather large departure from aspiring to capture a greater share of global advertising, and I suspect the strongest driver behind this change was that in Page’s mind “making the world a better place” was increasingly in conflict with “Google the institution”. With the establishment of Alphabet Page has prioritized the former at the cost of abandoning the continued making and maintenance of the institution Google has become to the very capable hands of Sundar Pichai.
- Here’s Why Google Is Making the Titanic Shift to ‘Alphabet’
But the shift to mobile has caused some observers to wonder about the company’s future rate of prosperity. As Internet users abandon desktop computers and flock to mobile devices, search results become harder to monetize, either because there’s less screen real estate or because users are searching in distinct apps rather than on the open web.
- The Example Larry and Sergey Should Follow (It’s Not Buffett)
But there’s a better comparison than Buffett: it’s John Malone, the “mastermind” who built the cable TV powerhouse Liberty Media. Malone is a brilliant financial engineer, who creates separate capital structures — each with a unique stock — for his different lines of business. Liberty Media, Malone’s holding company, owns a portion of the stock in each business. This approach allows Malone to attract equity and debt investors whose preferences regarding risk and payoff horizon match those of the business in question.
- Google’s Alphabet Move Is Reorganizing 101
If what it takes to operate the businesses and make them successful are fundamentally similar, then it will be helpful to have a unifying corporate culture so that knowledge and learning get shared. But if they are really different, then any attempts at corporate synergy will simply frustrate people. My guess is that in businesses that depend on truly great creative talent, there are fewer economies of scale or scope than one might think.
- Why Google Became Alphabet, Explained In 120 Seconds
Here’s everything you need to know in a quick two minute video.