Google Inc NASDAQ:GOOGL NASDAQ:GOOG is celebrating the 10th anniversary of its IPO. On August 19, 2014, the search engine company went public at $85 per share, raising $1.2 billion. The offering valued Google at $23 billion. Ten years later, the company has grown into a technology behemoth with $61 billion in cash and close to $400 billion in market value.
What made Google the company it is today?
What made Google the juggernaut it is today? The explosive growth of the Web was an important factor, but it was not something unique to Google. Why didn’t Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) grow at the same pace as more people gained access to the Web? There is something – a sense of purpose or belief – that drives the Mountain View-based company. And Google co-founder clearly noted it in the company’s annual letter to shareholders when he said, “… incrementalism leads to irrelevance over time, especially in technology, because change tends to be revolutionary, not evolutionary.”
At the time of its IPO, Google’s world was pretty small. It had the annual revenue of $3.19 billion. The company had only 2,292 employees, and it was focused almost exclusively on the search business. Back then, its products were so limited that Google listed now-commonplace things such as online calculators and spell check as key user benefits.
The company had just launched its Gmail service. Smartphones were nowhere on the map. There was no Chrome, no driverless car, no YouTube, no Android, no thermostats, no fiber-optic rollouts and no orbiting satellites. Today, Google has become the backbone of the Internet world. Its revenue has reached $66.73 billion, and the company now has more than 52,000 employees. Google has now become one of the world’s most-valuable companies. Its Android platform powers more than 80% of global smartphones.
The next ten years to be increasingly challenging for Google
The company’s success in the last ten years, however, doesn’t mean Google is well-positioned for the challenges of 2024. The search engine giant is tangled in legal issues around the world. Bureaucracy at its headquarters could make it arrogant and pushy. And then there are questions of privacy and surveillance.
But Google CEO Larry Page is determined to keep pushing further. His vision is to make Google’s products and services the control center of people’s lives. The company’s forthcoming offerings such as driverless cars, robots, Internet-connected Google Glass, and health tracking tools should solidify its position going forward.
Google shares inched up 0.17% to $593.70 in pre-market trading Tuesday.