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Google Letting Cash

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Google will only use its $8.6 billion cash cushion for "very very conservative investments," Schmidt said, and is unlikely to start a dividend in the current environment.

"We've not really discussed a dividend payment," he said in an interview on the sidelines of the Wall Street Journal ECO:nomics conference in Santa Barbara, California. "At the moment our view is to let the cash pile up."

Earlier on Wednesday, Schmidt said the economic storm will affect all forms of advertising, including the online ads that Google depends on, but that Google was unlikely to see a drop in revenue.

"We don't predict things like that," Schmidt said in a CNBC television interview when asked if the company's diversity would shield it from the economic slowdown.

But, he added, "from my perspective it's hard to imagine why you'd see a decline."

Schmidt also said Google continues to look at acquisition opportunities, but said he wasn't sure that prices were at their lows yet, or that the economic slowdown has reached its bottom.

Schmidt's comments came a day after he raised eyebrows at an investor conference by referring to privately held online messaging service Twitter as a "poor man's email system."

Asked about speculation that the comments were part of a negotiating tactic by Google in hopes of acquiring Twitter, Schmidt said he didn't want to speculate on buying or selling companies.

"We admire Twitter," Schmidt said.

(Reuters)


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