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Now with Google going public it will be even more interesting to watch how SAS Institute, the largest private software company in the world, fares: "At the peak of the tech bubble in 2000, with intense pressure on the long-private and highly respected SAS to go public and rake in billions of dollars, Goodnight said no." — So far the decision seems to have been a pretty good one.
SAS is a remarkable company in general, and in terms of company culture it almost looks like the role model Google has been aspiring to.
Another generally quite remarkable company is Microsoft, and now is as good a time as any to go back and find some parallels (and contrasts, too): "With pretax profits running as high as 34% of revenues, Microsoft needed no outside money to expand. Most important, [Bill Gates] values control of his time and his company more than personal wealth. [...]: [...] '[T]o have a stock trader call up the chief executive and ask him questions is uneconomic -- the ball bearings shouldn't be asking the driver about the grease.' [...] By 1987, Microsoft estimated, over 500 people would own shares, enough to force the company to register with the SEC. Once registered, the stock in effect would have a public market, but one so narrow that trading would be difficult. Since it would have to register anyway, Microsoft might as well sell enough shares to enough investors to create a liquid market, and Gates had said that 1986 might be the year."
Inside the deal that made Bill Gates $350,000,000 — 1986.
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Christian Langreiter, Langkampfen