Kevin Kelleher at GigaOm continues a thread started by Dave Winer in this strange little story about a talking pig, about how Google can take a successful idea started by Amazon with Amazon Web Services, and really do something with it. Kevin's quick description sums up how this is playing out in a way.
As valued Google workers pack up their desks and launch new startups, this is the single best strategy for Google to bring them back into the fold. And it’s a great way to pull the rug out from under Amazon, strategy-wise and profit-wise.
And this is where Google's brain drain might be perceived as not being a drain at all. Successful startup businesses operate without the control of the corporation, but have all the risk and therefore all the opportunity of innovating. If and when they are folded back into the company through acquisition, the reincorporation of the talent and the new techonologies they bring with them provide the bursts of innovation that keep Google's sails full.
It's an excellent analysis that I have to admit I've never thought about, and there doesn't seem to be any confirmation that this is what Google is thinking. But if they are, I would bet my dollars on that strategy.