Well, yesterday evening it was made official—Google bought YouTube for $1.65 billion, outbidding Viacom, Yahoo and News Corp. to acquire the Internet’s 10th-most-trafficked site.
Harking back to a time when massive Web buyouts happened every time some crusty old big-money executive called his accountant to find out what this whole “e-mail” thing was all about, the GooTube deal touched on some familiar territory: the arbitrary valuations of unprofitable startups, the venture-capital payoff (big-time Silicon Valley firm Sequoia Capital’s initial investment of $11.5 million netted it almost half a billion dollars in Google stock), the final offer of $1.6B being passed between Moons-Over-My-Hammies at a South San Francisco Denny’s, the delirious “Holy #%@$, we’re rich” announcement the next day, and so forth.
As per the deal, YouTube will retain full autonomy over its operations. But if one thing’s for certain, YouTube’s new millionaire execs better start pimping out their San Bruno offices, stat. Once its 40 or so employees see what it’s like over at the mothership (a mere 25 miles away in Mountain View), they’re going to wonder when they can expect their own free gourmet cafeteria, logo-branded carrots, official shampoos, toilets from the future, custom manhole covers, mobile snack stations within 100 feet of every desk, swim-in-place pools, live-updating traffic visualization displays, at-work dog accomodations, dope pool lounges (voice trails off dreamily)… —John Mahoney