Alphabet drops ‘Don’t be evil’ embraces “Do the right thing”

Google’s transformation into a holding company is officially complete, and parent Alphabet Inc. is now ready with a new code of conduct for its employees. Alphabet posted its code of conduct on Friday October 2, which is slightly different from Google’s.

Alphabet’s new code of conduct reads: “Employees of Alphabet and its subsidiaries and controlled affiliates should do the right thing — follow the law, act honorably, and treat each other with respect.”

The code goes on to say that if someone accuses you (or someone else) of wrong or dishonorable behavior, you must still follow the code of conduct: “Never retaliate against anyone who reports or participates in an investigation of a possible violation of the Code.”

The introduction of Alphabet hasn’t resulted in a change to the company’s official tickers; those still remain GOOG and GOOGL. At some point, we may perhaps see Alphabet Inc. replace Google Inc. with regards to both of them.

Alphabet refused to include the most famous line in Google’s diabolically famous code of conduct, the opener “Don’t Be Evil,” which had even made it into the filling for the companies’ public listing in 2004. Most aspects regarding the work environment are regulated. For example, some alcohol consumption is allowed, but not encouraged. Bringing pets to the office is possible, but dogs are favored.

The Alphabet code sticks to the basics: avoid conflicts of interest, maintain integrity and obey the law.

Most of the Alphabet employees will still be Google employees, as part of the core search-and-advertising unit, which is the new holding company’s biggest division. Those workers are still covered by Google’s code of conduct and the “Don’t be evil” motto.

However, for Google employees, the “Don’t be evil” phrasing is still in full effect, so it’s hard to see anything specifically changing as a result. Of course, some have mocked the giant for how close it does or does not stick to that adage, including when Steve Jobs reportedly called it “bullshit” in 2010.

The new code of conduct is a sign that Google is keeping pace with the times and let new businesses create their own cultures, separate from Google.

Who knows, maybe Nest employees prefer cats?

“Individual Alphabet companies may of course have their own codes to ensure they continue to promote compliance and great values,” a Google spokesman said. “But if they start bringing cats to work, there’s gonna be trouble with a capital T.”

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