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Google Beats Analysts’ Expectations Yet Again

Unveils plan to keep employees, too

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Google was one of few successful companies on the stock market today; it provided a little bit of green within big lists of numbers that were otherwise mostly red.  This trend continued as the search giant released its fourth quarter financial results. 

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Compared to certain other businesses (see eBay or Microsoft), Google did quite well.  It’s only next to the extraordinary growth Google’s achieved before that the current stats look a little unimpressive.  But given the circumstances, Google’s stock is headed up again (2.9 percent in after hours trading), and here are the numbers so you can draw some conclusions for yourself.

While analysts were looking for earnings of $4.95 per share and around $4.1 billion in net revenue, Google reported $5.10 and $4.2 billion, respectively.  Aggregate paid clicks were up 18 percent over the same quarter last year.  The only problem: net income fell from $1.2 billion to $382 million between the previous fourth quarter and this one.

Eric Schmidt stated, "Google performed well in the fourth quarter, despite an increasingly difficult economic environment.  Search query growth was strong, revenues were up in most verticals, and we successfully contained costs.  It’s unclear how long the global downturn will last, but our focus remains on the long term, and we’ll continue to invest in Google’s core search and ads business as well as in strategic growth areas such as display, mobile, and enterprise."

There’s just one other subject we need to touch on.  Google hired slowly during the fourth quarter, increasing its headcount by exactly 99 full-time employees since the end of September.  And the search giant seems determined to keep everybody, offering a stock trade-in program that should allow people to trade in currently worthless stock options for ones that aren’t underwater.

Google Beats Analysts’ Expectations Yet Again
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