MOUNTAIN VIEW, California: "Ambition can creep as well as soar," wrote Edmund Burke. Nothing in progression can rest on its original plan. "And how!" chorus one in four of DoubleClick's workforce who now face unemployment in a hostile economic climate.

But Google ceo Eric Schmidt does bland with all the panache of a TV news anchor. At the time of DoubleClick's acquisition he wrote in a house blog: "As with most mergers … there may be reductions in headcount."

He omitted to add: "Like 25%."

Some three hundred DoubleClick casualties are understood to have been made redundant or shunted into 'transitional' jobs that will eventually disappear.

A Google PR hack turned a personal tragedy into a corporate plug: "We are confident that our combined organizational structure, along with the skills and experience of our new colleagues, will allow us to continue to offer great products and services to our customers," he oleaginized.

Readers with elephantine memories will recall two fresh-faced young idealists back in 1998 drafting a code of conduct for their up-and-coming company. 

Ten years on the code is summarized on Google's Investor Relations web page: "Don't be evil. But "Don't be evil" is much more than that.

"Yes, it's about providing our users unbiased access to information, focusing on their needs and giving them the best products and services that we can.

"But it's also about doing the right thing more generally – following the law, acting honorably and treating each other with respect.

But as Edmund Burke also wrote: "Nothing in progression can rest on its original plan."

Data sourced from Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff