Google’s ‘don’t do evil’ is now Alphabet’s ‘do the right thing’

05 Oct 2015


Fifteen-year old Google Inc, having completed its transformation into a holding company called Alphabet on 2 October, has dropped its famous ''don't be evil'' credo. 

Instead, its new corporate code of conduct entreats employees to ''do the right thing – follow the law, act honorably, and treat each other with respect.''

Google's old code, which was written for its 2004 IPO, was much longer and included rules relating to co-worker relationships, pets, and at-work alcohol consumption, while Alphabet's sticks to the basics, like avoiding conflicts of interest, maintaining integrity and obeying the law.

In a conversation with The Wall Street Journal, a Google spokesman said, ''Individual Alphabet companies may of course have their own codes to ensure they continue to promote compliance and great values. But if they start bringing cats to work, there's gonna be trouble with a capital T.''

In addition, the vast majority of Alphabet employees will still be Google employees, part of the core search-and-advertising unit that is the new holding company's biggest division.

Google has officially turned from being a company to being a part of Alphabet, a holding company that builds upon the strengths of what Google used to be.

Nothing has changed about the work that Google used to do. But as a corporate, Alphabet will lead a group of companies where each one of them aims to be a billion-dollar business.

According to a report by Reuters, ''After US markets closed on Friday, Alphabet replaced Google as the publicly-traded company that will house Google's search and web advertising businesses, maps, YouTube and its ''moonshot'' ventures such as driverless cars.''

However, what has caught popular attention is the new Code of Conduct put up by Alphabet on its website. It says, ''Employees of Alphabet and its subsidiaries and controlled affiliates ('Alphabet') should do the right thing – follow the law, act honorably, and treat each other with respect.''

Clearly, Google (and now Alphabet) has gone from the omission of 'evil' to adopt a new corporate philosophy based on the commission of 'good'. It may not seem much, but many are reading between the lines and wondering at the corporate stand Alphabet would take on controversial issues.

In areas of anti-trust, dominating market share which have been areas that Google has been under heavy scrutiny, it is noteworthy that the new Code of Conduct focusses on doing the right thing. One can only wait and see how it pans out.


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