With Google Inc shocking everyone by announcing its newly formed umbrella overlord Alphabet Inc, it’s time to take a look at the A to Z (well sort of – it was hard!) of the new company.
A is for… Alphabet Inc
Effectively the new name for Google Inc. Firstly Alphabet will be created as a dummy subsidiary of Google. Then the two ‘companies’ will merge as Google’s stock is converted to Alphabet stock. Finally, after the merger Alphabet will be a dummy no longer whilst Google will become a wholly owned subsidiary of the new company.
B is for… Brin, Sergey and Page, Larry
The two founders of Google. The latter wrote the post informing the world of this mega-move, and will become CEO of Alphabet; Sergey Brin, meanwhile, will have the in no way small job of Alphabet President.
C is for… Calico
One of the key companies that will now exist as an Alphabet subsidiary. It is Google’s (now Alphabet’s I guess) biotech R&D arm, and currently seems to be concentrated on ‘age-related’ diseases. In 2014 it partnered with AbbVie to open a $500 million R&D facility, whilst it recently joined with the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard to further focus on the aforementioned age-related issues. It’s the kind of company Page and Brin seem committed to, but one that might not have sat well under the old ‘Google’ umbrella.
D is for… Dumb
Arguably what the Alphabet name is.
E is for… Earth
As in the place Google/Alphabet seems keen on conquering.
F is for… Fiber
Like Calico another of the key subsidiaries. Google Fiber is more traditionally techy, providing gigabit-per-second fibre optic internet, and is one of Google’s ‘experiments’ that seems to have come good. It has slowly been rolling out across the US, and is currently offered in Stanford, Kansas City, Austin, Provo, Nashville, Charlotte, Raleigh, Durham, Atlanta and Salt Lake City.
G is for… Google
It’s Google, duh. Though, what Google is now, exactly, isn’t as obvious. Of course, it is still the omnipresent search engine, but the new ‘slimmed down’ Google Inc will also still cover YouTube, Maps, Android, Apps and Ads.
H is for… Hooli
This one might be a bit more obscure. ‘Hooli’ is a fairly savage example of a vast, entrepreneurial, and morally dubious mega-company (ring any bells?) in HBO’s ‘Silicon Valley’. Brin and Page seem to have taken the satire in good jest, however, both aping Hooli’s HBO-created website hooli.xyz by making Alphabet’s URL abc.xyz, whilst sneaking a link to the former in Page’s initial Alphabet-announcement blog post.
I is for… Investors
People with a lot, ahem, invested in these changes. Investors appear to have reacted pretty damn well to the news, carrying the current Google stock nearly 6% higher to a peak of $711.25 in the initial aftermath of the announcement, a whisker away from Google’s all-time intra-day high of $713.35. Whilst the stock slipped away from these levels slightly in the follows days, it is still trading around the $700 mark.
J is for… Jokes
In the aftermath of Larry Page’s announcement, Microsoft swiftly set up abc.wtf, a link parodying Alphabet’s URL and one that leads to Bing, the search engine that no-one you know uses.
K is for… Knowledge
I.e. the aim of this article (this one was very hard, forgive me).
L is for Life Sciences
A former X labs project stepping out on its own. Life Sciences, like a lot of what Google does, is shrouded in secrecy. Some of its projects include smart contact lenses, a spoon for people with tremors and a health tracking wristband.
M is for… M&A
Likely something Alphabet is going to be very busy with. With Google’s merged and acquired companies hitting the 180s back in April, Alphabet is inheriting a long history of M&A activity. This is likely only to increase in the coming months and years, with the company’s restructuring perhaps freeing up Brin and Page to chase more unconventional (and some conventional – see the T entry below) targets that might have once sat uneasily under Google.
N is for… Nest Labs
A seemingly unglamorous, if sort of cool, purchase by Google in January 2014. Nest will become yet another Alphabet subsidiary, and is a ‘home-automation’ company. What that means is that Nest develops self-learning security systems, like thermostats and smoke detectors, which is either a) the early days of Skynet or b) an important and useful moment of progress in home safety, dependent on your point of view.
O is for… Other Companies
As in, will other companies follow this Google/Alphabet model? One imagines that Apple, Facebook and Amazon will be watching the progress of Alphabet closely over the coming months and years. Facebook, especially, is a big fan of the kinds of mergers and acquisitions that could benefit from such restructuring, including Instagram, WhatsApp and Oculus VR. The latter, especially, is pushing Facebook outside of its social media comfort zone, and Zuckerberg could use the Google/Alphabet situation as a blueprint for the future.
P is for… Pichai, Sunder
The new Google CEO. Pichai was originally appointed as Product Chief in October 2014, and has been chosen by Page to replace him as CEO of Alphabet’s headline subsidiary. It is a move that makes sense; he has spent the last eight months managing all of the company’s major brands, and has finally reached a position many in the know had long-pegged him for.
Q is for… Questions
There are still plenty of questions over this Google/Alphabet switch. Most surround what will happen to certain companies, and which banner they will fall under; these include things like Boston Dynamics, Google Auto and Google Robotics. However, there are larger questions over what benefits this restructuring will bring; it’s a complex move, and whilst Brin and Page painted in broad strokes with their announcement, the minutiae of the move remain unclear.
R is for… Restructuring
The key word describing this move. Larry Page, in his announcement blog post, claimed that the new structure will ‘allow [the company] more management scale, as we can run things independently that aren’t related’. Investors, despite Google’s stellar results, were slightly concerned about the expenditure on ‘moonshot’ experiments; it appears, then, that Page and Brin are not only restructuring the company itself, but people’s concept of what Google/Alphabet is.
S is for…Surprise!
As in, ‘well that was a big surprise!’
T is for… Twitter
Aka the increasingly beleaguered social media company, and long rumoured takeover target for Google. Google has always had trouble breaking into the social media market (sorry Google+), and with another disastrous earnings season for Twitter last month the M&A rumour-machine began to link the companies once again. The Alphabet-restructuring has hardly caused these rumours to abate, with the move seemingly making it even easier for new companies to be assimilated under the freshly-created umbrella.
U is for… Uber
One of, if not the, most famous beneficiary of Google Ventures. Needless to say Google’s initial stake in the company (6.8%) is now worth a lot of money (roughly $3.4 billion).
V is for… Ventures and Capital
Alphabet’s investment arms. Google Ventures and Google Capital, alongside Calico, Fiber et al., are two of the major new standalone subsidiaries under the Alphabet umbrella. Ventures, as the name suggests, is a corporate venture capital investment arm for funding tech companies; its Google giving back, essentially. Capital is Ventures but at a later stage, investing in companies for profit not strategy.
W is for… Wing
One of the X lab’s (see below) less secretive projects. It is effectively Google’s attempt at creating a drone service, much like Amazon is expected to roll out next year.
X is for… X
The former Google X Lab. As mentioned, the place Project Wing was created, as well as Google Glass and the company’s attempts at a self-driving car. When people talk about Google’s predilection for ‘moonshot’ experiments, they are talking about the X labs. Under Alphabet X will be its own subsidiary, as well as the source of most of the fodder for Google conspiracy theorists. It also seems to be the baby of Brin, who will serve as X CEO as well as Alphabet President.
Y is for…YouTube
Come on. You know this. The Google of the video world will remain part of the Google Inc brand, whilst the company’s CEO Susan Wokcicki will now report to Sunder Pichai. It is also feasibly big enough to exist as its own subsidiary in the future.
Z is for… Zzzzzzz
As in, that’s enough of this A to Z business.
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