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We’re still trying to wrap our heads around today’s big news: that Google will buy gadget-maker Motorola for $12.5 billion.The thing that’s most shocking about the deal is Motorola’s massive headcount. It has 19,000 people!
That’s 60% of Google’s current total.
How on earth will Google integrate that many people?
To get an idea, we spoke to a pair of former Google executives who helped the company swallow DoubleClick, which, with a mere 1,600 people, was Google’s largest acquisition by headcount until today.
They asked remain anonymous because they disclosed confidential information, and they don’t want to burn any bridges with former colleagues.
One of these sources told us the Motorola integration will be “impossible.” He thinks that Google will, for the first time in its history, be forced to run an acquired company as a completely separate organisation.
Here are some tidbits we learned about the Google-DoubleClick integration (and questions about the Google-Motorola integration those tidbits raise):
- Google CEO Eric Schmidt gave the people in charge of DoubleClick integration a clear mandate: get rid of 40% of the company. Will Motorola see similar cuts?
- Google got to 60% with three types of cuts. It fired ~13%, spun out ~13% when it sold DoubleClick’s search engine marketing group Peformics, and put another ~13% on contract. Are there any businesses Google can spin out of Motorola?
- Deciding whom to fire, Google looked at DoubleClick employees and asked, “Do they measure up to Google’s standards?” Execs found that DoubleClick’s product people generally did. Most of them stayed. Many software engineers did not measure up. They went. Which groups at Motorola are the strongest, in terms of talent?
- It was very important to Google that DoubleClick employees conform to the Google culture. DoubleClick employees happily complied. The Google culture is great; there’s lots of free food – about $20/employee/day. Will Google really spend all that money on Motorola employees?
- Google engineering has a strong bias against non-Google technologies, which can cause business distruption (e.g. if your product is based on the Microsoft stack you need to rewrite it). Which projects at Motorola will get the reset?