Bad Google, Bad!

Google is getting its share of bad press right now, but is it legitimate? The company has exhibited success and has realized prosperity. Is that a crime? If you’ve read the stories about Google lately, you’d think so. Everywhere I turn I see anger at and envy of Google being reported as news. Today’s story was no different than the dozens of others I’ve read.

Wide-Flying Moguls: Google Duo’s New Jet Is a Boeing 767-200

On the road, Sergey Brin and Larry Page have owned environmentally friendly hybrid vehicles such as the Toyota Prius. In the air, they apparently prefer something roomier.

Google Inc.’s two billionaire founders, both 32 years old, will soon be cruising the skies in a Boeing 767 wide-body airliner. They bought the used plane earlier this year, Mr. Page says.

The 767-200, typically an airline workhorse, is an unusual executive jet. It commonly carries about 180 passengers. Delta Air Lines operates over one hundred 767s. The Italian Air Force has ordered a modified 767 as an airborne tanker for refueling military jets. The 767-200 is almost 70% longer and more than three times as heavy as a conventional executive jet, such as a high-end Gulfstream.

Mr. Page says his plane will hold about 50 passengers when its refurbishment is complete. A top Gulfstream business jet typically carries 15 or fewer. He declines to give other details. People in the aviation industry familiar with the planned interior say it will have a sitting area, two staterooms with adjoining lavatories and a shower. Farther aft will be a large sitting-and-dining area. At the rear will be 12 to 16 first-class seats for guests or employees and a large galley.

Tech moguls delight in public one-upmanship and the Google founders’ 767 raises the bar. Microsoft Corp. co-founder Paul Allen owns a fleet of aircraft, but his flagships — two Boeing 757s — are smaller than Messrs. Brin and Page’s 767. It also marks a new level of consumption by the Google executives, who have shunned most trappings of the super-rich despite a combined net worth estimated at more than $20 billion.

Mr. Page acknowledges that the purchase might seem ostentatious. But “we tend to have an engineering approach, to be fact-based,” he says. “We looked at this and we just did the economics and we said, ‘you know, it makes a lot of sense.'”

And why not? Google is hot right now. They’ve got lots of business opportunities throughout the world and commercial air travel is impractical. Should their executives be penalized for Google’s success and be forced to ride coach to meetings in India? Puhleeze. If the money is there shouldn’t they be allowed to spend it anyway they want?

The only people who have a right to be concerned with the health and overall viability of Google are its shareholders. If they don’t like the spending habits of the founders or upper management they can deal with it. There are plenty of watchdogs available. If this dot com blows up like a bomb, so be it. What we don’t need is a babysitting media monitoring items purchased from the allowances received by Sergey and Larry.

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