superclown2 - 9:03 am on Sep 22, 2011 (gmt 0)
Here is my take on it: Others may disagree .....
Google was given several chances at the Congressional Hearing to offer to clean up their act. All these chances were spurned. Very soon they may either have to come forward with a voluntary code, or face antitrust action. This could have a devastating effect on the company as day-to-day business is disrupted, bad publicity causes a loss of trust amongst searchers and advertisers desert them to avoid being tarred by the same brush.
Markets hate uncertainly so in the absense of a fast settlement shareholders will be nervous. Google pays no dividends to it's ordinary shareholders. They stay in because they expect the shares to rise. If they look like falling long term many will cut their losses and sell because in the absence of a dividend they are on a hiding to nothing and this will cause further falls. The fortunes of many googlers are in shares or share options. Google will have to pay ever higher salaries (as they have already started to do) to compensate for this and retain staff. All on a falling income. Eventually a settlement, most probably not to their liking, will be imposed on them, rather than be freely negotiated by them.
This could be the biggest corporate disaster in history if it is not handled properly. The big question for us now is: how will this affect webmasters, in the short and long term?