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Google founders pay homage
Technology company executives cite the influence of technophobe investor in their own thinking.
May 1, 2004: 12:15 PM EDT
By Gordon T. Anderson, CNN/Money staff writer

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - As an investor, Warren Buffett famously avoids putting his faith in technology companies. Yet when the biggest new name in tech announced it was filing an inital public offering this week, its founders openly praised Buffett and his managerial worldview.

Buffett fans Page and Brin  
Buffett fans Page and Brin

In fact, the letter that accompanied Google's IPO filing was even written in the lucid, "chips-fall-where-they-may" style of Buffett's own letters to shareholders.

"Outside pressures too often tempt companies to sacrifice long-term opportunities to meet quarterly market expectations. Sometimes this pressure has caused companies to manipulate financial results in order to 'make their quarter,'" wrote Sergey Brin and Larry Page, the Google executives and co-founders.

"In Warren Buffett's words, "We won't 'smooth' quarterly or annual results," they wrote. "If earnings figures are lumpy when they reach headquarters, they will be lumpy when they reach you."

 
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Besides quoting the Sage of Omaha, Brin and Page acknowledged his intellectual influence. A footnote to their letter said that much of it "was inspired by Warren Buffett's essays in his annual reports and his "An Owner's Manual" to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders."

Having paid homage to Buffett, now comes the hard part for Google: matching Berkshire Hathaway's extraordinary returns to shareholders.  Top of page




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