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This Playboy issue is the reason Google's founders almost never do interviews

You could say they were caught with their pants down.

The September 2004 issue of Playboy
The September 2004 issue of Playboy
Image: Playboy

ALPHABET EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN Eric Schmidt gave a talk at a computer-science class at California’s Stanford University recently.

During the session, he told a story about why Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin have hardly ever talked to the press in the last 11 years.

They apparently had the bad experience of giving an interview to Playboy that risked derailing their company’s initial public offering, according to a transcript of the class.

Schmidt was asked: “How did the relationship with Larry and Sergey develop?”

Here’s his response:

“I knew that it was Larry and Sergey’s company, and I acted that way.

“For example, I never did any press. Right before the IPO (Initial Public Offering), Larry and Sergey did an interview with Playboy — no pictures. It turns out that the interview was at the wrong time in the quiet period and it put the IPO in jeopardy.”

But the even more correct answer is no problem, we’ll fix this. From that moment on, they’ve never given an interview. That was 12 years ago. When they wanted to do interviews, they did them. Once they didn’t want to do it anymore, I did them. It’s their company.”

Google Browser Google co-founders Sergey Brin, left, and Larry Page Source: AP Photo/Paul Sakuma

You can read the September 2004 Playboy interview here (don’t worry — it’s safe for work). The interview was controversial at the time because it revealed that the true state of Google had changed since the information the company filed in its S-1 IPO filing, according to CNET’s report from the time:

For instance, Google said that it now has more than 2,000 employees, not the 1,000 cited in the article, and that its Gmail service no longer has the significant advantage in storage space that it had over rival free e-mail services earlier this year.

By Jim Edwards, Business Insider UK

READ: The latest version of Android is out, but it’s unlikely you’ll see it anytime soon >

READ: US companies keep $2.1 trillion profits in overseas tax havens (and Ireland has its fair share) >

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Business Insider
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