Google missed analysts' earnings estimates for the sixth quarter in a row on Thursday, despite the fact that its actual performance for the three months ending on March 31 was more than respectable.
As usual, one has to wonder whether Wall Street isn't being just a bit over-optimistic about the online ad-slinger's prospects. Google exited the first quarter of its fiscal 2015 with $17.26bn in revenue, a 12 per cent gain over the same period a year ago. For most companies, that would be good news.
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Similarly, Google posted earnings of $6.27 per diluted share (each of which currently trades at a price roughly equivalent to half an ounce of pure gold). But the analysts were expecting to see $6.60 per share, on average, and so we frown and tut-tut.
It is true, however, that the Chocolate Factory's coffers aren't swelling quite as fast as some investors might like. Despite its revenue hike, its net income for the quarter was $3.59bn, a mere 3.9 per cent gain over the year-ago period.
Also concerning was that while Google's "Other Revenues" reporting segment – which includes everything that isn't from advertising – grew by 12.6 per cent year-on-year, its $1.75bn in revenue was actually down 10.4 per cent sequentially.
It's into this segment that Google lumps the revenue from its cloud computing business. But cloud computing sales wouldn't typically be that seasonal, which suggests that the majority of the "Other Revenues" come from things like sales of apps and media in Google's various online stores, rather than from the Compute Platform business.
Unlike Amazon, which revealed sales figures for its Amazon Web Services (AWS) division for the first time on Thursday, Google does not break out numbers for its cloud computing division.
But we all know how Google really makes its money. Advertising accounted for 89.9 per cent of its revenue in the first quarter, just as it did in last year's quarter. And ad sales were up 11.8 per cent from a year ago, consistent with the total revenue figure.
As is typical, Google's own websites brought it the best returns. Revenue from ads on Google sites was $11.93bn, a 14 per cent year-on-year gain. Its take of revenue from ads shown on its network partners' sites, on the other hand, only rose 5.3 per cent, to $3.58bn.
Its traffic acquisition costs for the quarter – the fees it pays to its partners to direct traffic to its sites – climbed by only a scant 3.5 per cent, to $3.35bn.
You can hardly say Google is doing poorly. You can only wish for more. But for once, investors seemed appeased by what the Chocolate Factory had to report, despite the earnings miss, and the online giant's share price climbed around 4 per cent in after-hours trading following the report. ®