I really enjoyed this Bloomberg piece by Max Chafkin and Mark Bergen on Alphabet/Google’s sprawling internal fiefdoms:
Critics, including more than a dozen former top Google executives who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they signed nondisclosure agreements, describe a company having trouble balancing innovation and its core business, search advertising. Over the 12 months ended in September, Google’s ad business accounted for 89 percent of Alphabet’s revenue, or $76.1 billion. As one ex-executive puts it, “No one wants to face the reality that this is an advertising company with a bunch of hobbies.”
Alphabet/Google shepherds so many R&D projects that have started but never seemed to go anywhere (yet): Google Glass, Project Loon, Google Fiber, Google X, ATAP, Replicant (Boston Dynamics), Verily, and others.
It does now seem that Alphabet’s CFO Ruth Porat is trying to bring some order the budgetary chaos that comes with a bunch of weird moonshot projects with no clear path to profitability.