EditorialGuy - 8:35 pm on Dec 13, 2013 (gmt 0)
It would be much easier to rank a site based solely upon its content.
I doubt that, but in any case, links are just one piece of the puzzle. Google has plenty of other ranking factors in its algorithm (ranging from things like domain age and authority to on-page signals), so it could remove links from the equation without relying solely on page content for rankings.
Or Google could just remove some types of inbound or outbound links from the equation, or it could use links for types of searches (e.g., informational) where they're typically used as "citations" but ignore them for other types of searches (e.g., transactional) where they're more likely to be the result of link-building campaigns. There's a range of possibilities between "Use all links as a ranking factor in all searches" and "Don't use links as a ranking factor, period."