Dang it, Akamai (NASDAQ:AKAM)! Couldn't you have disappointed the Street -- just this once? I wanted to buy more ultra-cheap shares!

But no, the leading online content delivery expert reported sterling fourth-quarter results. Earnings blossomed to $0.22 per diluted share, compared to $0.18 a year earlier, while sales bloomed by 16% to $212.6 million. And the share price followed suit, currently sitting 18% above last night's closing price.

These fabulous numbers include two months of contributions from acerno, a recently acquired ad data outfit. Acerno contributed $7 million in revenue despite rough advertising conditions. The company looks like it'll become a serious revenue driver in the future, but it's just getting started. Give it some time.

Like I said a couple of days ago, Akamai will grow as long as our appetite for Internet bandwidth grows. The customer list includes some of the fattest traffic creators in the world, including media maven Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), online retailers Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Overstock.com (NASDAQ:OSTK), and all-around giant Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT). For years, the Fool has delivered content using Akamai.

Approaches vary, but Akamai is unique -- and uniquely effective -- in placing batches of large servers across the globe. Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) can certainly do it and does not use Akamai's network. On the other hand, Amazon is on the customer list, despite the fact that the retailer rents out its own computing infrastructure to anyone who needs a cloud-computing platform.

So, we were snubbed of a deep-discount earnings miss here, but I'd still buy more Akamai at today's prices. Direct competitors like Limelight Networks (NASDAQ:LLNW) are fighting an uphill battle when they take on Akamai. The company's experience, industry reputation, and technical prowess are all matchless, and there are still decades of solid growth ahead of Akamai today.

Further Foolishness:

Microsoft is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation. Google and Akamai Technologies are Motley Fool Rule Breakers picks. Amazon.com and Apple are Motley Fool Stock Advisor selections. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days.

Fool contributor Anders Bylund owns shares in Akamai and Google, but he holds no other position in any of the companies discussed here. You can check out Anders' holdings or a concise bio if you like, and The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.