The Phone Call to Wall Street That Cost Larry Page $15 Billion

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Photo: Matthew Staver/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Larry Page should've listened to us when we suggested he look into a personality transplant. In fewer than 400 words he managed to damage Google's relationship with Wall Street, possibly for years to come. Google's first quarterly earnings call with Page as CEO last Thursday was slightly alarming. Although revenues rose an impressive 29 percent, expenses grew even more, rising 54 percent because of a 1,900-person hiring binge and spending in areas for growth like mobile and video advertising. But in a post-earnings conference call, rather than explain the spike in costs and how these investments worked into his vision for the company's future, Page got on the phone, spoke "in an unconvincing monotone" about his optimism for the company, and then quickly jumped back off the line. Wall Street's response? Selling stock down more than 8 percent and wiping out $15 billion in value. May we suggest a follow-up phone call to whichever PR whiz trained Mark Zuckerberg not to soak his hoodie in flopsweat when talking about privacy? Being "parsimonious with social interaction" doesn't seem to be working for Page.

Analysis: Google's Page and Wall Street: Who needs who? [Reuters]
Wall Street Gives Larry Page A Big -1 [TechCrunch]
Related: For Larry Page, a How-to-Fix-Google List