Google Q3 beats Wall Street forecast
Google revenue grew 70 per cent and earnings almost doubled in its third quarter, which ended 30 September.
Google generated revenue of $2.69 billion, compared with $1.58 billion in last year’s third quarter. Subtracting the commissions it pays sites that carry its ads, Google had revenue of $1.865 billion, beating the consensus expectation of $1.815 billion from financial analysts polled by Thomson Financial.
Meanwhile, net income came in at $733.4 million, or $2.36 per share, up from $381.2 million, or $1.32 per share. On a pro forma basis excluding certain items, net income was $812 million, or $2.62 per share, also beating analysts’ consensus expectation of $2.42 per share.
Google executives are very pleased with the company’s financial performance during the quarter, particularly with its international business, which generated 44 per cent of all revenue, the company said in a statement.
“We had an excellent quarter in all respects, especially internationally,” Eric Schmidt, Google’s CEO, said during a conference call.
Business was particularly strong in the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, France, Canada, Australia, India and Brazil, executives said.
Google also benefited from strong usage growth, improved search services, enhanced advertising offers, new partnerships and a “blizzard” of new products during the quarter, Schmidt said.
Areas the company wants to improve on are rationalising and integrating its ever-growing menu of services and developing new sources of revenue beyond its core of search advertising.
Sergey Brin, Google co-founder and president of technology, said the company is implementing initiatives to make it simpler for consumers and organisations to find and use its services.
“We’re concerned that if we continue to develop so many new individual products that are all sort of silos, you’ll have to search for our products before you can use them,” Brin said. “We’re trying to create horizontal functionality across the range of products, across media types and so forth.”
Brin cited as an example Google Apps for Your Domain, a suite that combines several products and services for use by businesses, universities, groups and other organisations.
Google is also working on providing uniform ways to perform similar tasks across its services, like the process of sharing videos, photos and documents, Brin said.
Finally, Google is also grouping search services so they are easier to locate, and also combining search results from those different services, Brin said.
Regarding diversifying the company’s revenue mix, Schmidt said Google’s revenue will continue to flow primarily from advertising, and search advertising in particular “for many, many years”. However, he acknowledged Google must develop other sources of revenue, and pointed at some nascent ones that hold much promise, like the company’s enterprise unit, which sells search appliances to organisations. He also cited the new Google Checkout online transactions service as one that has “tremendous revenue potential”.
Asked about potential copyright violation liabilities Google may inherit when it closes its acquisition of video sharing site YouTube, Schmidt said Google strictly abides by copyright laws and its approach to YouTube will be no exception. The deal is expected to close this quarter.
He also said that Google expects to sign a final contract very soon with News Corp’s MySpace for the advertising deal they announced in August. The companies have been operating so far under a “binding letter of agreement” for that deal, which calls for Google to be the exclusive provider of search functionality and search advertising to MySpace and other News Corp websites. As part of the deal, Google must make revenue-sharing payments totalling at least $900 million to News Corp between the beginning of 2007’s first quarter and the end of 2010’s second quarter.