"And luckily no one will remember what our employees were posting in public forums about the issue, nor our sock puppets that modded them up"
I'll let you know in a minute or two.
Going way out on the limb here...I wonder if at some point Google will consider breaking itself apart proactively.
Mainly to avoid the age-old cycle of:
1) Start up with big name VC backing
2) Work towards establishing (effective) monopoly in your segment
3) If big/important enough, users start to grumble and press increasingly covers the ramifications of too much influence in segment
4) Congress gets involved at the behest of competitor's lobbyists
5) Judicial branch gets involved
6) Spend lots of money on legal defending your market position, lose focus and become fat and lazy
7) Grow into a lumbering behemoth which loses their market position to more nimble/creative startups
Few have tried jumping from step 3 directly to creating separate companies that would most likely all still be in the growth phase (obviously a big plus for shareholders). Mainly because companies in that position are few and far between. But it's certainly possible for GOOG to become the first trillion dollar mkt cap company if investors think it's worth much more as separate entities than a single unit facing the specter of steps 4-7.
Or this is all meaningless drivel because the business units are too intertwined (core databases, no way to establish Chinese walls, etc.). Just a thought anyway.
Heh. And for folks who have a Microsoft store nearby, stop in and ask if they have any used MBAs for sale
My local McClatchy-owned news site recently went to strictly Facebook login posting. Which whittled out the obvious trolls but as a byproduct, resulted in the same set of commenters on every article.
But what's interesting is that even with their full names, pictures and even employer names showing alongside the posts, they still submit inflamatory and trollish stuff. Especially politics and religion. Like one adjuster for Allstate recently went on a rampage about an unmarried female congressional candidate. Lots of religious invective and called her son illegitimate, etc. Not a joejob either, I actually know this person tangentially and it jives with her meatspace persona.
So I suspect you're right that comments will eventually have to die to maintain revenue generating subscribers. Because no matter how they try to reign in the trolls, there's always a constant flow of average joes who really haven't figured out the implications of exposing yourself through social media. And most likely never will until it hits home (i.e. getting fired).
What used to be the 'largest media and distribution company ever' (AOL Time Warner) is now nothing more than a garage of pieces being parceled off to the first available bidder. This might be good for consumers, but recently Time Warner (and Comcast) won awards for consumer hatred."
I honestly think the employment pool for web developers has been deluged by hipsters over the last few years. Where have all the down-to-earth pros gone?
Nope. At the end I specifically said EV. Which for MSFT was cut in half over the period, unlike ORCL which is back to almost the same as the bubble peak. Its direct competitor Apple ate Microsoft's lunch during that period and AAPL's EV shows that fact clearly.
And needless to say, comparing MSFT to pets.com makes no sense, nor does lumping "tech" in one big basket.
Bottom line is they had a monopoly and a golden opportunity to leverage it into the same thing that Apple did. They sat around and tried to protect the empire instead of innovating. That's what the valuation shows in black and white.
Given the dotcom bubble I thought it would be unfair too. But if you look at just large cap tech, it's nowhere near as bad as what happened to the pure-play dotcoms and networkers:
Over the same time frame:
Oracle: $86B -> $185B
Apple: $18B -> $547B
HP: $45B -> $64B
And of course IPOs that happened a couple years later like Google and Salesforce were multi-baggers.
So comparing the peak mkt cap of the bubble is actually not that unfair. Considering Microsoft had a monopoly in 2000 and couldn't even maintain a constant enterprise value over 14 years, again, I wouldn't call that a "wildly successful" performance by the CEO.
Like it or not, CEOs are measured by their share price. When Ballmer took over in first quarter of 2000, Microsoft's market cap was $534.42B.
Their current market cap is $399B.
$135B in market cap was lost over 14 years while he was CEO. You may be right that he's a great marketing guy, etc., but "wildly successful" as a CEO may be a touch unrealistic.