face of concerns about legal attacks from Apple, Inc. (AAPL)
and Microsoft Corp. (MSFT),
and earnings concerns, Google Inc. (GOOG)
continues to show it isn't leaving its starring role in the tech industry
anytime soon. The smartphone and internet search leader on Thursday reported a record revenue of $9.03B USD.
GAAP net income (profit) was at an impressive $2.51B USD.
The strong showing should go a ways to dispelling the cloud of pessimism that
has surrounded Google in recent weeks. Indeed Google stock has soared up
13 percent in pre-market trading.
The pickup of Google+ has been particularly
impressive. New chief executive Larry Page regaled the
audience of the earnings call with figures. Namely, he revealed that
Google+ had reached 10 million users, despite being invite only and only in existence for a few weeks. He also
indicated that Google+ users are very active on their new social network,
sharing over 1 billion links a day with their friends.
Mr. Page even took the opportunity to deliver a bit of a shot at rival Facebook's loose privacy controls. He states [transcript], "Our goal with
Google Plus is to make sharing on the Web like sharing in real life, as well as
to improve the overall Google experience. Circles lets you choose with
precision who you’re sharing with. Not surprisingly, this has been very well
received, because in real life we share different things with different
Facebook users will recognize the hidden meaning here; the world's largest
social network has clumsy privacy controls that in most cases result in sharing
things with all your friends -- or in some peoples' cases -- all the world.
Google clearly is a bit more privacy-conscious.
Google's Chrome web browser is also doing quite well. The company reports
it has 160 million users. Mr. Page remarks, "Chrome is the fastest
Turning to Android, Google's smart phone juggernaut, Google says that it now
has 135 million active devices. This total is significantly lower than
Apple's, which has 200 million iOS devices active as of June. Of course,
much of the differential is likely due to the iPod Touch -- which has no major
Android competition -- and the iPad tablet -- which has vastly outsold Android
In phones the numbers are likely much closer, but unfortunately neither company
broke down the active device numbers into categories. The closest clue
with regards to the health of iOS versus Android is the number of phone
activations a day.
Apple in June said it was at 275,000 a day. In June, Google said it was
at 500,000 a day, with Android Manager Andy Rubin declaring on Twitter that
activations were increasing at a 4.4 percent weekly growth. During the
earnings call Google seemingly confirmed this growth rate, by announcing
activations of 550,000 handsets a day, a figure Mr. Page calls "a huge
number, even by Google’s standards."
Looking back, in April Google was at 350k activations, so the growth has indeed
been impressive. Apple chief executive Steven P. Jobs has claimed that Google is lying about its
activation totals, believing his company is still ahead, despite the large gap
in the reported totals.
Google still trails Apple in apps and app downloads. At the earnings call
Mr. Page announced total app downloads had reached 6 billion, well behind the
15 billion downloads Apple users have logged.
Mr. Page brushed off monetization concerns about the company's core products,
such as Android, Google+, and the Chrome browser. He comments, "Now
people rightly ask, how will we monetize these businesses? Of course, I
understand the need to balance the short-term with the longer-term needs,
because our revenues and growth serve as the engine that funds our innovation.
But our emerging high usage products can generate huge new businesses for
Google in the long run, just like search."
"And we have tons of experience monetizing successful products over time.
Well-run technology businesses with tremendous consumer usage make a lot of
money over the long term."
Overall, the earnings serve as reassurance that all Google's key properties are
firing on all cylinders, competitively. However, outside concerns, such
as lawsuits and antitrust investigations remain serious
obstacles for Google.