There won't be a Google stock split, so stop asking
Google Inc.’s official code-of-conduct motto is "Don’t be evil." But some small investors may feel that it’s at least unjust, if not a bit evil, for the company to refuse to split its stock (now $500.03 a share) to make it more affordable for people of limited means.
Too bad for them, Google CEO Eric Schmidt made clear Wednesday in an interview with CNBC’s Jim Cramer.
The host said he was "stopped all the time by people who know I love Google and say, ‘Will you get the guy to split the stock? I can't afford 500 bucks. Why won't they split it?’ "
Schmidt’s reply: "We're not going to split it. People think the value of the stock is really the dollars, so we keep it high."
Say what? I always thought "value" in a stock was evident in ways other than its absolute share price.
But no matter. Cramer agreed with Schmidt. "I think that's good," Cramer said of the no-split policy. "I like individuals to buy one share. Berkshire Hathaway did the same thing."
"It works well," Schmidt said.
Uh, for who?
Cramer also brought up the much-chewed-over debate about whether Google is dumbing down mankind -- particularly kids -- with instant, push-button information (i.e., no longer any reason to think for yourself).
Kids use [Google] all the time because it's a new way of learning. When I was growing up, in Virginia, they made me memorize the names of all the capitals of every county in the state. Completely useless information. So kids today are going from knowing everything to being able to search very quickly. The kids need to learn how to search because they're going to have to search everywhere. They're going to have search everywhere on devices that they carry with them.
"So," Cramer said, "you're not worried about intellectual laziness because you guys have done what it took me four years of college to do -- how to do a thorough search for papers etc?"
Nope, Schmidt said. "I don't believe in the lazy people/dumb people," he said. "I think people are smarter because they have access to more information. Google just organizes it. The people are still asking the questions, they're still thinking it. They have so much more information available to them."
Including, of course, completely useless cute-kitten videos on Google’s YouTube. Useless, but way cuter than Virginia county capital names.
Photo: Google CEO Eric Schmidt. Matthew Staver / Bloomberg News