Keeping the Culture
The pair also wrote that just as they have run Google in unconventional ways as a private company, they plan to maintain that culture as a public company. Googles decision to sell initial shares through an auction process reflects such a desire. "Many companies have suffered from unreasonable speculation, small initial share float, and boom-bust cycles that hurt them and their investors in the long run," Page and Brin wrote. "We believe that an auction-based IPO will minimize these problems."Click here to read more about Microsofts competitive plans with MSN Search. Google cited the increased competition as one of its business risk factors. Also included as a risk was its reliance on advertising as its main source of revenue. It reported that about 95 percent of its net revenues in 2003 came from advertisers. On the ad side, Google is embroiled in a series of lawsuits challenging the use of trademarks as keywords to trigger its AdWords-sponsored listings alongside search results. Earlier this week,
a French insurance company sued Google over trademark issues, joining a closely watched suit from a Michigan home-decorating retailer.
Read more here about changes Google made to its ad trademark policy.
Meanwhile, Google in recent months has been expanding its services while also stirring controversy. It launched a test of its own e-mail service, called Gmail, earlier this month, drawing concerns from privacy advocates because it plans to serve targeted ads based on scanning the contents of messages.
The company, among other things, also has been testing a social-networking service and has launched more local search options, as well as personalization features.
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Speculation of a likely IPO has bombarded Google since last year. All the while, competition in the Web search-engine field has been accelerating. Yahoo Inc. earlier this year dropped Googles Web search results, opting for its own technology. And Microsofts top executives have vowed to aggressively enter the search field with the companys own technology in the next year.