OK, we know you just want to move on to the news about Google's pending IPO, but as you evaluate that company's prospects, remember, as Tom Gardner put it on Fool.com this week, a business's success is dependent on how focused it really is: Focus! Focus! Focus! As an investor, you need to be focused, too.

In today's Motley Fool Take:

Ready, Set, Google!

By Bob Bobala (TMF Bobala)

Googlemania is finally upon us in earnest.

Today, Google registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission for a $2.7 billion public offering. Investors also got their first look at Google's books. The company took in $961.9 million in revenue in 2003 with profits of $106.5 million. Sales were up 177% over 2002, but it's noteworthy that earnings increased just 6%.

And therein lies part of the problem with IPOs. While more information will be forthcoming, Google -- for all its hype -- doesn't have a track record we can easily follow. And while any successful dot-com is a liberating prospect for investors burned by the crash of so many dot-bombs a couple of years ago, caution is always the best recourse when you're considering IPOs. Take it from Steven Mallas, who on Tuesday confessed a litany of IPOs he'd lost money on, particularly on brand names like Fox Entertainment(NYSE: FOX), World Wrestling Entertainment(NYSE: WWE), and Barnes & Noble(NYSE: BKS) offspring barnesandnoble.com (you have to love how Fool writers have no qualms about publicizing their mistakes so that others may benefit).

Google may very well be a great long-term investment. But that doesn't mean you have to jump in as soon as the bell rings. One thing is very likely: When this Internet darling finally holds its coming-out party, speculators are going to jump in. The stock may rocket. But how high it will go and, more importantly, how long it will stay up there, no one knows. Don't forget, Yahoo!(Nasdaq: YHOO) once fetched some $250 per share. And we know a whole lot more about Yahoo!'s business today than we do about Google's. By the way, Yahoo! is not standing idly by as Google is about to raise billions to compete with it.

We're all in search of the next Microsoft(Nasdaq: MSFT), but remember, the world's biggest tech company came out with far less fanfare than Google has today. Treat the Google IPO as you would any untested company: with skepticism and a Foolish eye that's not easily distracted by the lure of fast money. If you're destined to reap investment rewards from the company, it likely will not be in its first week of public trading, whenever that might be.

Bob Bobala does not own any of the companies mentioned in this article.

Di scussion Board of the Day: Google

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Gillette's Sharp Quarter

By Alyce Lomax (TMF Lomax)

Gillette (NYSE: G) provided its rejoinder for Energizer(NYSE: ENR) today, with a first-quarter earnings report that might explain why the latter company feels the need to flash more cash in the name of competing with its rival.

Gillette's earnings rose 43% to $376 million, or $0.37 per share. Sales rose 13% to $2.24 billion, though that figure included 7 percentage points from the weak dollar, something we've been hearing a lot about lately.

Though Gillette cited a continued difficult market for its Duracell batteries, it said that its worldwide market share in razors has held at 72.8%. Meanwhile, its Mach3 and Venus razor products grew 10% in a global market where razor volume has risen 5%. These products compete with Energizer's Quattro razors, as well as Energizer's answer to the female-oriented Venus product, Intuition. Net sales of Gillette's blades and razors increased 16% to $1.04 billion, including an 8% boost from foreign exchange.

If you were reading yesterday, you recall that despite Energizer's robust quarter, its forward view lacked positive sentiment. Judging by Gillette's market share, it's no surprise Energizer's fixing to increase its marketing spending. Energizer's razors and blades segment increased 68%, which represented sales of $214.9 million.

Investors liked what they heard about Gillette, which also has Oral-B dental care in its stable of products. Today's news included the disclosure that Gillette has a succession plan in place if it loses its CEO -- likely a comfort, considering recent rumors that Gillette's chief executive was being wooed by Coca-Cola(NYSE: KO).

The razor wars remain an ongoing concern as these two companies battle to be the name in close shaves. It hasn't been lost on us that the rivalry between these two is a heated one. Gillette hit a new 52-week high today; investors dug the earnings growth, which also benefited from cost cuts, despite its assertion that growth will moderate in the second half of the year. Meanwhile, it's clear we haven't heard the last of Energizer yet.

Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned.

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Time Warner Still in AOHell

By Steven Mallas

The home of Michigan J. Frog -- that kooky, sings-only-when-he-wants-to dancing amphibian mascot of the WB netlet -- has published results for the first quarter.

Time Warner (NYSE: TWX) saw its earnings double this past quarter to $0.20 per diluted share vs. $0.09 in the year-ago period. Overall revenues increased a respectable 9% to $10.1 billion. Free cash flow increased to $1.07 billion as opposed to last year's $750 million.

One of the biggest issues that can plague a big media conglomerate -- Disney(NYSE: DIS) comes to mind on this count -- is its debt load, and there is some good news on this front: due to the divestiture of the Warner Music Group, net debt now stands at $18.8 billion, down from the $22.7 billion that was on the company's balance sheet at the end of 2003. (Backing out the effect of the sale -- and including some charges -- the diluted EPS for the first quarter would be $0.15 compared to $0.10 per diluted share last year.)

A standout segment is filmed entertainment. We all know about the Lord of the Rings: The Return of The King cornucopia. How about the continued syndication success of Seinfeld (that certainly isn't about nothing)? Or DVD releases such as Freddy vs. Jason and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake (can't wait for all three villains to get in the ring someday).

Operating income rose 92% for filmed entertainment, but the movie and television business is as cutthroat as any of the cast members on The Apprentice -- Disney, Fox(NYSE: FOX), or Viacom(NYSE: VIA) are always waiting to grab market share in these arenas. Other segments such as publishing, cable, and networks also did well. Better growth in overall advertising revenues, however, would be nice since ads are an important driver.

Of course, you can't talk about Time Warner without mentioning the America Online service. The division continues to plague results, and it's having a hard time competing with the likes of EarthLink(Nasdaq: ELNK) and Comcast(Nasdaq: CMCSA). Revenues did nothing, and this past quarter saw 237,000 subscribers in the U.S. depart for greener online pastures (or just plain depart).

The AOL service operating in Europe saw a gain of 38,000 users. Many fantasies have been floated on Wall Street concerning the ditching of the unit; fair enough, considering that the merger hasn't exactly lived up to the ecstatic hype surrounding the concept's inception. Nevertheless, if true synergies could be exploited within the vertical structure of this huge concern, extraction of value might still be feasible. The recent AOL/Road Runner initiative is an example of such considerations.

With summer bringing a new spell from Harry Potter for the multiplexes and a mindset towards debt reduction and careful business management, the frog may have something to sing about after all. Time Warner justifies a serious appraisal by any investor.

Fool contributor Steven Mallas owns shares of Disney.

Qu ote of Note

"All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence; then success is sure." -- Mark Twain

Daimler Can Do Better

By: W.D. Crotty

Ford (NYSE: F) reports blowout profit gains. General Motors(NYSE: GM) surprises with outstanding earnings. DaimlerChrysler(NYSE: DCX) is "earnings challenged." So much for the Big Three.

A 33% plunge in first-quarter earnings notwithstanding, a Daimler release trumpets a 10% increase in operating profit. By all indications, gains at Chrysler and the Commercial Vehicles division helped mask declines at the Mercedes Car Group and Services divisions.

But, as pleasing as that new car aroma is, Daimler's 4.8% operating margins are less rosy when compared to the better-than-8% margins driven home by Toyota(NYSE: TM) and Honda(NYSE: HMC). Add in debt that exceeds $70 billion, and you start to see just how "challenged" Daimler has become.

Going forward, management "expects to achieve an improvement in operating profits for the full year compared with 2003 results." Ah, those operating profits just keep popping up. So, what's dragging on net income? "Lower financial results and higher taxes." Because those are real dollars not making it to the bottom line, net income matters -- and it appears headed for another challenging year.

Yet, one more curve in the road will be how Daimler accounts for its investment in Mitsubishi Motors. On April 22, Daimler decided to stop capital funding for its percentage of Mitsubishi. While management expects the net effect to bolster results, that remains to be seen.

When Daimler closed out fiscal 2003, Chrysler had sold fewer cars, lost money, and took a huge restructuring charge. Fortunately, that drag on earnings has been reversed. Unfortunately, with analysts projecting earnings of $3.52 this year, the stock still trades at a forward P/E of 13 times. That's hardly cheap.

By comparison, GM, Ford, and Honda trade at less than 10 times forward earnings. Toyota goes at 14 times. Given the alternatives, you have to wonder why investors are paying so much for earnings-challenged DaimlerChrysler.

Fool contributor W.D. Crotty does not own stock in any of the companies mentioned.

Mo re on Fool.com Today

Flush Five to Survive. No, it's not potty-talk, silly. Seth Jayson's got how cash and no debt make for companies that should do well whether the market is about to rally or tank.... And keep those home fires from burning a hole in your heart and wallet. Selena Maranjian has a couple of pointers for When Your House Burns Down.

In other news:

For a list of all our stories from today, see our Today's Headlines page.