At Google, Shareholders Have No Clout

Robert Cyran

is unimpressed with Google’s

push into clean energy:

The company risks spreading itself too thin — chasing everything from personalized

biotechnology to space flight. Its shareholders probably don’t want Mr. Page

and other executives spending their time, or Google’s cash, on a spate of

questionable pet projects that may accomplish little more than satisfying

its founders’ hubris.

This is exactly the kind of thing that Google was very explicit about

when it went public. We will not give public shareholders any kind of useful

voting rights, they said, nor will we give quarterly earnings guidance. We will

spend our money on pet projects that shareholders might not like or want. If

you don’t like that, don’t buy the stock. Google’s executives are, quite explicitly,

not answerable to their public shareholders. So it seems a bit rich

to criticise them for doing just what they said they were going to do all along.

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