When this search engine had the opportunity to buy Google for less than a million dollars (and decided to pass it up)

Schmidt Brin Page 20080520

Google is one of those multinationals that almost everyone knows. Your products and services, in one way or another, are present in the lives of millions of people. When they send Gmail emails, when they browse YouTube videos or when they work with Workspace tools.

And of course, they can do it from Android devices, and even Pixel. The phenomenon of this Mountain View company has reached such a level that we tend to “Google” when we need an answer. Although Google also has a graveyard of products that did not materialize and even cases of monopoly.

The purchase of Google that was not

In any case, Google (through its parent company Alphabet) is part of the select club of companies whose market capitalization exceeds one trillion dollars. The sum of their shares equals $1.53 trillionnot insignificant economic muscle, and an almost unattainable acquisition option.

This whole scenario was very different in the past. About 20 years ago someone had an opportunity to buy Google for about under a million dollars. The most curious thing about this story is that it was the founders of the company who wanted to sell it.

Larry Page and Sergey Brin even insisted that the operation go ahead. However, they met a person did not give in to the conditions they had established for the deal. It depends on the perspective in which we analyze the matter, we could say that everyone was wrong.

Eric Schmidt with Sergey Brin and Larry Page in 2008

On the one hand, the founders of Google for trying to sell a company that would later become one of the global technological icons. On the other hand, the executive who decided to reject that offer. However, since it is impossible to glimpse the future, the parties relentlessly maintained their position.

Going back to the late 1990s can help us better understand what happened. Google was founded a September 4, 1998. Back then, you could still search via the domain and the home page boasted 25 million indexed pages.

But some time later, sometime in 1999, those responsible for the company decided that it was time to sell it. The potential buyer would be none other than Excite, the second largest search engine in the United States, behind only Yahoo! So the conversations between its managers began.

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The Google and Excite pages in 1999

George Bell, the former CEO of Excite, told in an interview with CNBC that Page and Brin wanted to sell Google for about $750,000 (which would currently be equivalent to $1,373,539) and take 1% of the buying company. The economic terms of the agreement, according to the Excite executive, were not an obstacle to the operation, the problems were in “the culture.”

“Larry Page was adamant that we have to remove all of Excite’s search technology and replace it with Google,” Bell explained. This was the reason that led him to say no. Excite was too happy with their technology and identity, so they decided to go ahead without losing something as valuable as their own search solution.

Bell added that, as a company director, he prioritized elements such as culture and identity in his decision. And, although Google has become a technological giant over the years, the executive acknowledges that “it was a good decision”. He is clear about it, he maintains that at that moment he chose the best path.

“It’s very easy to look back and say I should have,” Bell mused of the purchase that could have changed the search industry. Excite, for its part, was losing the popularity it enjoyed in its best days. The company was bought and sold numerous times and, although in 2001 it went bankrupt, its portal continued to function.

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Despite its collapse, in 2001 iWon decided to buy the company and relaunch its service portal. In 2005 it was bought by, a portal that is now part of IAC Inc., an American holding company with several pages. Excite, however, never managed to replicate the huge success it once had. Far from growing, some of its flagship services, such as Excite Mail, They stopped working.

Images: Excite | The Pancake of Heaven | joi ito

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Written by Editor TLN

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