Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Dear Larry: A Letter From Wall Street

By Eric Jackson, Senior Contributor04/27/11 - 08:00 AM EDT

NEW YORK (TheStreet) --

Dear Larry:

What happened?

There was a time -- just before you IPO'ed in 2004 -- when we really thought Google(GOOG_) was a kooky company. You put that strange letter to shareholders in your S-1. You said you wouldn't pay attention to the short-term demands of Wall Street. You set up a dual-class share structure so that none of our activist hedge fund brothers could throw you out if you did a terrible job. You said you were going to be a different kind of company.

We don't like different. It's hard to figure out. It's random. Worst of all, it suggests your margins are going to suck.

Google CEO Larry Page

Luckily, Eric Schmidt won us over. He was very articulate, if not a little professorial. He seemed to listen to our concerns and communicate back to us in a way that conveyed understanding and serious intent. In short, we liked him and our confidence was bolstered by your results since IPO.

However, since you pushed Eric out so that you could retake the CEO title, we're a little freaked out.

All those early fears of ours about a bunch of kids running this company in some haphazard way came back to us. The day you made the announcement that you were taking over for Eric, you released a picture of you, Sergey and Eric sticking your heads out of a Prius that drives itself around the Google parking lot. Driverless cars? That's in the Google R&D budget?

More recently, we've read that you're investing in wind farms in Oregon. Hundreds of millions of dollars in wind farms. Your recent quarter's results showed operating expenses up 40% because you gave everybody one-time 10% pay hikes across the board.

In short, we're seeing lots of spending and it's not at all clear how this is going to benefit us -- the shareholders.

We know you call us Wall Street people and you look down on us. You think because we're not engineers or Rhodes Scholars that we're not as smart as you. You think we're slick guys in flashy suits who don't deserve what we're paid. You put us down in private -- until you need our money.


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