Google Disavows PC Talk

It and Wal-Mart say they don't covet the hardware business.
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Google

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and

Wal-Mart

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denied a media report that they planned to announce a partnership this week to sell Google-branded PCs and other devices.

"I can tell you that this is an unfounded rumor," says Wal-Mart spokeswoman Jolanda Stewart in an email statement. Google spokeswoman Eileen Rodriguez told the Web site

lightreading.com that the company saw "no need to enter the PC market." Google didn't respond to a request for comment for this story.

The denials probably will do little to quell the speculation about the plans of the highflying Mountain View, Calif., company, whose shares more than doubled last year. Some pundits have speculated that Google is interested in making a "cube" that would enable people to directly access the Internet, bypassing their personal computers.

In addition to reporting the talks with Wal-Mart, the

Los Angeles Times

, which cited no sources, said that analysts "suspected" that Google co-founder Larry Page would demonstrate a "computing device" at this week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Although some technology pundits say that part of the story might have some validity, author John Battelle says he find such talk "hard to buy."

Here's why. "Well, it's not like

Apple

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,

Dell

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, and tons of others don't want to make the same thing anyway and it's not like that they haven't thought it through," he writes in his blog,

battellemedia.com.

Both Wall Street and Silicon Valley, which were caught off guard by Google's meteoric rise, are busy trying to figure out the company's next move. That won't be easy given Google's secretive nature and the fact that many experts see the company as being on the cusp of a rapidly changing industry.

Of course, that doesn't deter people from trying. Tuesday, Piper Jaffray put an eye-popping $600 price target on Google's shares. Bear Stearns put a relatively modest $550 projection on the shares Wednesday.

"Google may be in the process of sustaining an entire ecosystem around it, much as

IBM

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and

Microsoft

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did in the 1960s and 1980s respectively," writes Bear Stearns analyst Robert Peck in a note to clients. He rates the company's stock outperform, and Bear Stearns makes a market in Google shares and has provided the company with noninvestment-banking services.

Google rose $13.50 to $448.73.