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Google Finance, Govt, Policy and Business Issues Forum

New Google European HQ
Competition between Dublin & Zurich

 12:13 pm on Jan 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

According to a local radio station, Irish Govt agency IDA Ireland (www.ida.ie) met with Google US management last week to discuss locating a European HQ for Google in Dublin. Several data centres in the Dublin area were visited.

Its a 2-way pitch between Dublin & Zurich and an announcement is due in the next month.

The new Euro HQ will be for technology, sales & marketing.
Nothing official has been released (that I know of)




 12:21 pm on Jan 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

Nope i haven't heard any "official" news about it too, but i've known about the Ireland and Zurich for quite some time, i wonder where they would place it.

Zurich is a business city and not so much technology based (yes i know there is exceptions)

Whilst Ireland seem to have some problems when it comes to Internet connection speeds, will sure be interesting to see the outcome.


 12:24 pm on Jan 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

Dublin would be nice ;-)


 12:34 pm on Jan 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

Would be a major coup for IDA & Dublin methinks to get G in light of bad press the Irish net infrastructure's been getting.

Would probably entice a few more companies in as well particularly if G have their IPO....


 2:22 pm on Jan 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

Time to put up the shutters and scan for hidden cameras! A Google HQ less than 100 miles away? Wonder if they'll buy me lunch.


 2:29 pm on Jan 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

The Irish government has for many years been very good at attracting foreign companies to locate their European offices in Ireland.

Ireland is a low cost country and a member of the European Union (EU) whilst Switzerland is a high cost country outside the EU. My bet is that Google will choose Ireland.


 2:39 pm on Jan 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

Most interesting question is what they need European HQs for?
They own European websearch much the same way as the US.

One thing for sure is intensifying adwords and sponsored listings sales.
Another thing would be pushing the portal services in Europe, which to this time are US only, like news, stocks, Froogle, etc.

For the technical side of things Google probably wouldn't need a HQs here. Local operations for datacenters are already working.


 2:57 pm on Jan 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

As long as they can avoid Cavan potholes on the way Makemetop, I'd say you're in with a good chance of lunch.

Maybe get in touch with Googleguy now while you can & book him in!


 3:09 pm on Jan 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

Ireland is a low cost country and a member of the European Union (EU) whilst Switzerland is a high cost country outside the EU. My bet is that Google will choose Ireland.

True, but Zurich is situated in the middle of geographical Europe, while Ireland is like far away. From Zurich you can get to all major European cities in about an hour by plane.

Oh, and there are lots of very qualified people.

Did I mention ski resorts? ;)

Oh, and maybe Google is planning to open a bank account? And Switzerland is very attractive on the tax side.

Sinner (writing from ..., yep, you got it :))


 5:27 pm on Jan 30, 2003 (gmt 0)



 5:44 pm on Jan 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

>>Ireland is a low cost country and a member of the European Union (EU)

Those may prove to be major factors along with language.

There is also the beer factor: all that Stout Mmmm! :)


 5:57 pm on Jan 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

You wouldn`t happen to be Irish Brad?


 7:52 pm on Jan 30, 2003 (gmt 0)


hey wait... google's not gonna hire an SEO. Irish or not...



 8:08 pm on Jan 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

Why would they choose either of these countries?!

I live in Ireland and personally would not move my company here if I had a choice, in fact I'm currently focusing on moving my company abroad in the coming months and some things are pending, as soon as they pass I am outta here, broadband is far too costly here, which would be exactly what Google or any web based company would need.

Why select either Dublin or Zurich over let's say London? I think they should move there!

[edited by: Chico_Loco at 8:25 pm (utc) on Jan. 30, 2003]


 8:24 pm on Jan 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

Chico makes an interesting point. Location is a huge part of attracting talent. Google is currently located 45 minutes south of San Francisco, and 10 minutes from Stanford University. Great talent. Great food. Great hiking and surfing. Great wine. Lots of techies.

Now, what if Google had been located in Virginia, like AOL?

Corporate culture at AOL was negatively affected by their rigidly conservative environment and they were slow to recognize the next step forward (in their case, broadband). Unless you want to be close to the CIA, Virginia is a lousy place to headquarter a tech company.

I'm not comparing Ireland or Zurich to Virginia (I don't know either), but a business would have to think about the effect from the local culture, and where the talent wants to live.

[edited by: martinibuster at 8:34 pm (utc) on Jan. 30, 2003]


 8:31 pm on Jan 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

Also, another point I'd like to make on this topic, and please people don't get me wrong or midunderstand this, I am Irish and I'm not meaning to offend the irish but this is fact:

The general population here are not as technically superior as in the USA, or even the UK. In other countries ISP's can put up banners locally etc.. but do that same thing here and nobody will really understand "huh -- what is a web host?"

I'm not 100% certain about the UK, but I would imagine it's a step more forward than here, simply because it's a larger country and has more broadband and more investment, so that for me would be another reason also to move there?

brotherhood of LAN

 9:08 pm on Jan 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

If I had a choice, I would love to see Dublin get it, to be sure to be sure ;)

One factor that might creep in is subsidies. AFAIK most of Ireland has "regional status" for subsidies & "inward investment".

Google, or any other company for that matter, may be better "located" in one of these areas :)


 9:36 pm on Jan 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

I don't think I understand the arguments against being in Ireland. I'm sure they're not expecting a flood of Irish comp scientists in Dublin, as they may in San Fran, but that would surely have nothing to do with it...

... and I doubt bandwidth costs are a concern.

from what I remember, the tech industry boom in Ireland came mainly from the extremely low corporate gains tax that corps moving in have to pay. Hence, Intel Ireland, and about a million big tech companies have large plants there.


 10:09 pm on Jan 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

Intel's operation in Ireland is limited to manufacturing. Intel's European headquarters is in Swindon, UK.

I'm not arguing against Ireland. Just pointing out a fact.


 11:29 pm on Jan 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

Ireland offers English language skills (okay, plus Gaelic), which Google already has covered, while Switzerland delivers German, French, and Italian.

Also, it might be a disadvantage having an EU headquarters given the heavy-handed Internet legislation in Europe. One European company told me they basically can't even use cookies on their site due to privacy regulations. And Google have already been taken to court due to content laws in Germany and France.


 12:34 am on Jan 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

My 2p's worth - If its Sales & Admin only, then note the multitude of call centres in Ireland with foreign-language speaking staff. Might be a good way of selling into EU markets like France, Germany & Scandinavia....

Also, low corporate tax regime - critical one would have thought?

Bandwidth-wise, one would think they could get this sorted fairly handy?

Market-size - Someone mentioned London? Can't see any advantage there over Dublin. I live in London & theres tonnes of biz here which I doubt will be as plentiful for me when I move to Dublin in next 12 months - (For quality of life reasons)

But thats me - Can't see Google having that problem. Buy a Dell PC in the UK & you speak to Limerick I think it is. Why wouldn't that work for G?


 2:37 am on Jan 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

What would attract Google to Dublin is the low corporate tax, the government grants and subsidies and the fact that Ireland is in the EU. With Swizerland, the biggest problem is that it is outside the EU and therefore it is technically in a different Customs and Excise jurisdiction.

The bandwidth is certainly more expensive in Ireland due to continual neglect by the government in favour of the ex-monopoly ex-state telco. However the datacentres are well connected.

The tech support would be for the European search appliance clients and branded search engine users of Google. Though as a call centre type operation, Ireland would be well able to support it since it has a lot of call centre operations. As for the technical side of things, Ireland would certainly have the people for tech support and call centre operations. Though it would be interesting to see if Google does any real research in the European HQ.

Perhaps this is the opening phase of the Google-Yahoo war?

(I finally get my site to #1 on Google for 'biggest Irish search engine' and Google wants to move into my backyard. ;) )


 3:11 am on Jan 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

I don't know if this is relevant, but Ireland tops the list at software distribution in the world. I agree with the EU and low tax debate too. It also has the best link to the US in Europe belive it or not in terms of genealogy etc.


 10:08 am on Jan 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

It's fairly common practice for companies that want a business presence in London to actually be officially based in Ireland, for tax purposes (as pointed out by others).

I expect they'll set up the European head office in Ireland, but hire and keep all their key European staff in London and just go back to Ireland for board meetings every so often.

I live in London, and Google is one of the very few companies I would actually love to work for (and I believe they could find a niche for me). Unfortunately, I think it would conflict with my other "interface" to Google, which is a great shame for both parties. Bah!


 11:34 am on Mar 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

Lads n lassies,

A few words -


to name but a few, all doing core development for US and European markets............the tax breaks are going or in some cases gone.........whats left is a large pool of highly experienced and well educated people who have a unique and successful way of dealing with American multi-nationals.

Continued here:

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