- 13 Nov 08, 08:13 GMT
For Silicon Valley, knowing that Google is still making wads of cash and hiring people has of late stopped people panicking about the economic crisis. But despite having billions in the bank, it seems even this behemoth is not immune to the vagaries of the marketplace.
While looting hasn't broken out yet on Charleston Blvd, there is concern. And that concern was heightened when Google's share price took a real knock and dropped yesterday to below $300 (£204) to $291 for the first time since 2005.
Anyone reading the runes, and really you don't have to be an expert at this, will deduce that even Google is taking a hit from a marked slowdown in online advertising amid this downturn.
But more bad news is waiting in the wings.
Citigroup analyst Mark Mahaney said that search-engine marketers, who place ads with companies such as Google, have been telling him that they "almost universally expect the fourth quarter to be the weakest they have ever experienced."
All of this is gloomy stuff for investors but also for employees. An estimated 75% started working for Google around two years ago and are now finding their shares completely under water.
But with nowhere else to go and people being laid off right, left and centre most employees will no doubt just have to suck it up in the hope of an eventual uptick.
Still it doesn't helping knowing that a year ago this month a Google share was worth more than $700 and peaked at the end of November at $741. Ah the good old days!
While Googlers may decide to keep their heads down for the moment, there are predictions floating around from the likes of Jason Calacanis at Mahalo that Google will start laying people off in the New Year.
Still it could be worse for the Google gang.
Just down the road in Sunnyvale, Yahoo just can't seem to cut a break. Their share price nosedived to $10 (£6.89). That equates to a loss of $31 billion in shareholder value since turning down Microsoft's acquisition offer of $33 (£23) earlier in the year.
Still lots of attention is being paid to Google because if the pink slips really do get handed out at the Googleplex as some fear, that will signal a real tectonic shift in the Valley's psyche.
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