It seems many investors' New Year's resolution is to load up on Google
Wall Street analysts and their fancy financial models are agreeing. Last week, Piper Jaffray's Safa Rashtchy put a $600 price target on the stock. Mark Stahlman of Caris & Co. says that the mighty GOOG can reach $2,000 a share, and that the company can reach $100 billion in sales.
There's no denying that Google is the king of search. And with so many companies rushing to advertise online, it's sitting pretty in an intensely attractive market. But in its hunger for new growth, Google is entering other areas rife with fierce competition -- and its plans for these markets appear somewhat underwhelming.
What new Google developments are investors getting excited about? Try video on the Internet. Yep, you can purchase videos, download them from your computer and watch them. Not quite overwhelmed by the sheer thrill of that announcement? There's also the new Google Pack, a free bundle of popular Google offerings like Google Toolbar and Google Talk, along with other companies' antivirus and video-playing software.
True, these initiatives should provide incremental revenues for Google, attract some new users, and help enhance the Google brand. But online video is still in its emerging stages, and it's likely to take several years to gain any critical mass. There's also plenty of competition in online video sales, which is likely to put pressure on margins. Is all this really worth billions more in additional market cap?
In my opinion, Google rival and Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation Microsoft
Microsoft also boasts the Xbox 360, which is experiencing Google-like growth patterns. This week, Microsoft announced an add-on drive that will let users play high-definition DVD discs on the console. Microsoft also announced a variety of other deals, including the Urge online music service with MTV and a deal with DirecTV to let viewers transfer content to PCs, mobile devices and Xboxes.
Yet despite all the activity, Microsoft's stock treads water. Yes, this is probably due to Microsoft's maturity as a company, but for a business of its size, it grows at a decent rate and generates huge amounts of cash flow. Big-cap companies like Microsoft have been mostly out of favor on Wall Street, but in light of its recent announcements, Microsoft certainly looks attractive. As for Google's stock, it started the week at $422.52 and ended the week at $465.66.
Investors are clamoring for anything Google, despite its underwhelming announcements. For investors who want to protect their portfolio, this might be a smart time to "just say no" to the search king, however tempting its stock.
Microsoft's Wall Street snubbing might be your chance to profit. Let Motley Fool Inside Value guide you to even more top-notch companies unfairly ignored by the market. Sign up today for a 30-day free trial.
Fool contributor Tom Taulli does not own shares of companies mentioned in this article.