- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 12, 2012

Google reported a better-than-expected first quarter after the markets closed Thursday, with profits and revenues up from last year.

Google’s net income hit $2.89 billion, more than a 60 percent increase from last year’s $1.8 billion in the first quarter. That means a $8.75 per share increase for investors.

Revenues rose 24 percent to $10.65 billion, up from last year’s $8.58 billion.

Google had another great quarter with revenues up 24 percent year on year,” Google Inc. CEO Larry Page said. “We also saw tremendous momentum from the big bets we’ve made in products like Android, Chrome and YouTube. We are still at the very early stages of what technology can do to improve people’s lives,, and we have enormous opportunities ahead. It is a very exciting time to be at Google.”

Google shares closed Thursday at $651.01, up $15.05, or 2.37 percent, from the previous day’s close, in anticipation of what the company called a “great” first quarter.

Following the release of the earnings report, the stock continued to jump to $655 in after-hours trading.

Google reported $49.3 billion in cash.

The Internet search giant promised a rare stock dividend for investors, keeping pace with Apple Inc., the company’s chief competitor, which last month paid back a quarterly dividend of $2.65 per share.

Apple, at the time, reported having $98 billion in cash, up by $31 billion from the previous year.

The maker of the iPad and iPhone, which recently became the second company in history to top $600 billion in value, is the wealthiest company in the world. Shares closed Thursday at $622.77, down $3.43, or less than 1 percent, from the previous day’s close.

Apple also is dealing with accusations from the Obama administration that it fixed prices of e-books.

The two tech titans are competing head-to-head in the smartphone market, and Google’s Android has surpassed Apple’s iPhone, according to Forbes.

“The Android wireless phone business is a hit and is rapidly growing,” Mr. Kagan said. “Mobile is growing rapidly.”

“I also expect Google to use the Motorola acquisition to usher in something new on that front.”

Google also is intent on beating Facebook with Google+ in the social networking market. So far, no good, according to Mr. Kagan.

“Facebook is a threat to Google,” he said. “Facebook has a different strategy in mind, and if successful, they will start to peel the Google onion.”

Google+ has lost buzz to other upstart social networks such as Pinterest and Instagram, but there’s still room to improve.

“Social networks are growing rapidly,” Mr. Kagan said. “Google is trying to jump onto the bandwagon, but has just not caught on yet. That is disturbing to them.”

Google’s bread and butter, advertising, saw mixed results. Paid clicks increased 39 percent from the previous year and 7 percent from the fourth quarter of last year. The cost per click, however, decreased 12 percent from last year.



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