Google beat Wall Street expectations with its fourth quarter 2012 earnings, reported Tuesday. The company made $14.42 billion and earned $10.65 per share (analysts expected $10.52). The Internet search giant continues to prove that search is a very big business and that there's still growth to be had, even as the Internet transitions from PCs to mobile devices.
On that: of the $14.42 billion that Google brought in for the quarter, $1.51 billion came from Motorola Mobile, a substantial dip from the nearly $2.6 billion that Google saw in the third quarter. At ZDNet, Larry Dignan finds plenty to be confused about here — and that makes sense, given that Google bought what was then called Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion. Dignan says that, sure, the acquisition was all about Motorola's patents. But $12.5 billion to defend yourself from patent trolls? Doesn't Google want to make a business out of mobile devices?
CEO Larry Page certainly sounded that way when the deal was announced on Google's blog. On Tuesday's earnings call, conducted after markets closed, he echoed exactly the same lingo he used back in May 2o12: we've all got supercomputers in our pockets.
Then he took it a step beyond.
We're "naked without our smartphones," now he said, "living in uncharted territory, in a new kind of computing environment."
Page has been around computing for a while and said that this is the biggest change he's seen since the very early days of the PC revolution. Then he called Google's "focus on devices" one of the company's "biggest bets in last few year," along with the Chrome and Android software that makes all those pocket supercomputer smartphones and Chromebooks work.
These don't strike me as the words of someone who's only worried about patents. It sounds like someone who has seen the future and thinks Motorola may be a critical part of it for Google.
At any rate, Page then took the opportunity of the call to go a little hippie on everybody and stress that, even though Google is the second largest publicly traded company in California by market cap and the eighth largest in the world — $230.4 billion — it's really all about letting the computer do the work so that we can get back to "living, learning and loving."
Did I say hippie? Maybe I meant...Journey! To which end I provide the video below, via a Google technology (YouTube) for your Google Q4 2012 earnings day pleasure.