Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Why Google’s Alphabet Is Nothing like Berkshire Hathaway—and Much Riskier | MIT Technology Review

From an Alphabet reality check; also see Is the New Google More Like Berkshire Hathaway, General Electric or AT&T? (NYT)
"First, it’s important to dispel the assumption that Page and cofounder Sergey Brin have created something like the Berkshire Hathaway of the Internet, an updated version of Warren Buffett’s conglomerate. “The comparison is silly,” says Michael A. Cusumano, a professor at MIT’s Sloan School of Management. Buffett, he says, invests in existing, undervalued companies, a bit like a mutual fund—precisely the opposite of Alphabet’s VC-style focus on risky new ventures like Calico, which wants to somehow fight aging.

If Page and Brin try to run Alphabet like an updated Berkshire Hathaway or even General Electric, a more tech-focused conglomerate, they will run into trouble, says David B. Yoffie, a professor of international business administration at Harvard Business School. “They’re run very differently from successful tech companies,” he says. “I’m skeptical because it’s very hard to have a conglomerate structure in the tech world.”"
Why Google’s Alphabet Is Nothing like Berkshire Hathaway—and Much Riskier | MIT Technology Review
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