Warren Buffett, referred to as the “Oracle of Omaha”, has admitted that he made a mistake by not buying Google shares years ago when the technology company was earning $10 to $11 per advertising click from Geico, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway’s consumer insurance company.
Buffett made the admission in today’s annual shareholders’ meeting of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. in Omaha, Nebraska. “Our biggest tech failure was missing Google. Walmart and Google were missed opportunities,” he said.
Buffett has often said he avoided buying stocks of technology companies in the past because he did not really understand how they were making money and whether they would be able to do so over the long term. In the case of Google, however, Buffett said he could have figured out the company had a great advertising business because he was, in effect, contributing to its profits. In recent years, Buffett has ventured a bit into investing in technology companies with mixed results.
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On Thursday, Buffett had said that he sold about one-third of Berkshire Hathaway’s stake in IBM Corp. The IBM stock had touched $180 on 14 February 2017 and had reached a high of $182.78 during the intra-day trading on 16 February 2017. On Thursday, the stock closed at $159.05 on the New York Stock Exchange. Buffett owned about 81 million shares of IBM Corp. at the end of 2016 and sold about a third of them in the first and second quarters of 2017, CNBC reported.
Berkshire also holds about 133 million shares of Apple Inc., but Buffett says he looks at Apple more as a consumer products company instead of a technology company. “We do view Apple and IBM differently, Apple more of consumer business, IBM has more to do with products. We got it wrong on IBM and will find out whether we are wrong on Apple,” Buffett said.