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Google Q4 2013: strong revenue growth driven by Play Store and hardware sales

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The search giant missed earnings expectations by a wide margin but wasn't punished by traders

Google 3D logo white stock 1020
Google 3D logo white stock 1020

It seems like Google can do no wrong with the markets these days. The consensus estimate on Wall Street was that Google would deliver $16.75 billion in revenue and earnings of $12.26 a share. It hit the top of that line, with $16.86 billion in revenue, but missed on the bottom with earnings of $12.01 a share. Still, the stock was up slightly in after-hours trading.

It seems like Google can do no wrong with the stock market these days

Google made $14.4 billion in revenue and earned $8.62 a share for this same period a year ago. Last quarter Google brought in $14.8 billion and earned $10.47 a share. Paid clicks, which measure volume in Google's ad business, were up 31 percent over 2012, while the cost per click, a measure of the margin on its core business, decreased 11 percent year over year.

The big story last quarter was the mounting losses at Motorola. That continued this quarter, but for the final time. Google announced yesterday that it was selling Motorola to Lenovo, putting an end to a painful and expensive experiment with smartphone and tablet manufacturing. This quarter Motorola lost $384 million, which is a huge jump from the $248 million it lost last quarter. With losses accelerating so quickly, it's no surprise Google wanted to get Motorola off its books.

"Revenue growth was driven by content and app sales in the Play Store."

"Revenue growth was driven by content and app sales in the play store," said Patrick Pichette, Google's chief financial officer. It seems that the release of the Nexus 5 and strong demand for the Chromecast also helped. "Play hardware sales drove a big chunk of quarter-over-quarter growth. Nexus 5 was very strong for us, and the Chromecast was a best seller all quarter," said Pichette. While Chromebooks sales were strong, they did not contribute to Google's bottom line. "Most of the Chromebooks are sold through other parties, so we don’t book revenue on them."

You can follow along with Google's earnings call below. It kicks off at 4:30PM EST.