San Francisco: Facing prickly questions about possible conflicts of interest, Google Inc. will sell a recently acquired service called Performics that helps websites improve their ranking on online search engines, including Google’s.
The decision, announced yesterday, comes three weeks after Google picked up Performics as part of the online search leader’s $3.2 billion purchase of online ad service DoubleClick.
In other fallout from the DoubleClick deal, Google reportedly is preparing to eliminate about 300 jobs in the biggest purge in the Mountain View-based company’s nine year history. The New York Times reported Google’s layoff plans on its Web site late Wednesday, citing an unnamed person with direct knowledge of the upcoming cuts.
Google did not immediately respond to inquiries about the reported layoffs, but Eric Schmidt, Google’s chief executive, acknowledged layoffs were possible in a note published when the DoubleClick deal closed.
Including the roughly 1,500 workers picked up in the DoubleClick acquisition, Google now has more than 18,000 employees worldwide.
Although 300 jobs represents less than 2% of Google’s total payroll, it still figures to a jarring move for a company that prides itself on pampering its employees.
The streamlining also signals Google may be watching its expenses more closely amid concerns that the slowing US economy will curb the ad spending that has driven the company’s rapid earnings growth.
Rising worries about a possible slowdown has contributed to a 33% decline in Google’s market value so far this year, wiping out about $70 billion in shareholder wealth.