Watch stocks you care about
The single, easiest way to keep track of all the stocks that matter...
Your own personalized stock watchlist!
It's a 100% FREE Motley Fool service...
"We are producing more relevant ads against more queries every time. Relevancy against commercial queries equals ROI, which equals revenue for Google," CEO Eric Schmidt told analysts in announcing fourth-quarter results yesterday.
Google, in other words, is focused on revenue and profits, and produced plenty of both in the fourth quarter. Revenue rose 18% overall and 22% for Google sites. Revenue from network sites -- those that run Google's AdSense ads -- was up 4%. Aggregate paid clicks rose 18%.
Analysts weren't expecting that sort of growth. Wall Street had called for $4.96 in per-share earnings after accounting for stock-based compensation. Google produced $5.10 a share instead, up 15% over last year's $4.43.
But those gains exclude $1.09 billon in non-cash write-downs of Google's investments in Time Warner's (NYSE: TWX ) AOL and WiMAX upstart Clearwire (Nasdaq: CLWR ) . Include them, and stock-based compensation, and Google earned just $1.21 a share.
That sounds a lot worse than it is. Truth is, Google reined in costs about as well as it ever has. Traffic acquisition costs fell from $1.50 billion in Q3 to $1.48 billion in Q4. Capital expenditures declined by $300 million. What didn't suffer? Research and development; Google spent $100 million more on R&D in the fourth quarter.
Make it count, Google.
Get your clicks with related Foolishness: