Alphabet delivers better-than-expected Q4 revenue


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Google Cloud is a "fast-growing multi-billion dollar business that supports major Global 5000 companies in every important vertical", Pichai said.

All this even as Alphabet released mostly upbeat news yesterday about its Q4 results, beating analysts' forecasts in key metrics in many instances.

The company said that in the fourth quarter, the number of clicks on advertisements on Google's websites increased 66 percent from a year earlier. Revenues in the USA rose 20% while revenues from Europe, the Middle East and Africa rose 29%, helped by the strength of the euro and the pound. About 83 per cent of the revenue came from Google's ad system, chiefly mobile search and YouTube, the company said on a call with analysts. Alphabet's Q4 results in "other revenues" like the Google Play store and hardware sales, underperformed and brought in $154 million.

"Everything we do at Google is united by the mission of making information accessible and useful for everyone".

"All in revenue fundies [fundamentals] remain very consistent and robust", wrote RBC Capital Markets analyst Mark Mahaney, who noted that the 21% operating margin was "the lowest that we've seen in many years".

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Concerns appear to be around how much Google is able to charge advertisers for ads.

A man walks past the logo of the U.S. multinational technology company Google.

Investors concerned that Alphabet's future growth, especially in emerging markets, will not match its previous rates, are looking to the company's other businesses to provide new streams of revenue.

"Google saw a steep decline in operating margins", said Richard Kramer, analyst at Arete Research "They have plenty of cash to invest, and $7-billion in capex is a huge spend". The search giant's operating income rose 13% year-over-year from $8.6 billion to $9.7 billion.

Alphabet's head count grew to almost 99,000 from 80,000 employees during the course of the year as expenses at the internet colossus climbed. Cloud bets are likely to start paying off in the coming years, said Wedbush Securities analyst Daniel Ives. Quarterly revenue growth slowed year-over-year; it was 24% for the final quarter of 2017 compared with the end of 2016.

However, the company's bet on Google-made hardware also comes with significant expenses: Google spent close to $1.5 billion acquisitions in 2018, up from $287 million in 2017.

"In 2018 we delivered strong revenue growth, up 23% year over year to $136.8 billion, and up 22% for the fourth quarter to $39.3 billion", said Ruth Porat, Alphabet and Google CFO.