Google posts record revenues for 2012

The fifty billion dollar year

Google has published its Q4 2012 earnings, revealing revenues of $14.42bn (£9bn) for the quarter and a company record of $50bn for the fiscal year.

Revenues are up 8 per cent on Q3 2012, and an impressive 36 per cent year-on-year. The profit recorded in Q4 was $2.89bn, which is also up on the last quarter and year-on-year.

However, the figure does not include the reported $2.35bn Google is set to receive for Motorola Home, the set-top box division of the company it acquired in 2011. The deal was announced in December 2012 but did not close within the quarter.

Following the announcement, shares rose 4 per cent to $736.50 in late trading. In an investor relations press release, CEO Larry Page commented:

"We hit $50 billion in revenues for the first time last year - not a bad achievement in just a decade and a half. In today's multi-screen world we face tremendous opportunities as a technology company focused on user benefit. It's an incredibly exciting time to be at Google.

Advertising challenges

As usual, advertising across Google sites and its network made up a fair chunk of earnings. Google has been troubled recently by declining cost per click (CPC), often blamed on the growth of mobile browsing - as mobile ads cost less, and desktop ads receive a smaller audience. The trend seems to have at least temporarily reversed in Q4 2012 with average CPC up 2 per cent compared to the previous quarter; however, after several quarters of decline this is still 6 per cent down year-on-year.

Natalie Booth, head of search at theEword, said: "Fifty billion is certainly an impressive figure, and Google's success is clearly showing no signs of slowing down. Although the sudden shift to mobile may be impacting a main source of revenue, the company is famous for its ability to adapt and innovate in situations like this."

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