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Google earnings show it accelerating investment in acquisitions and R&D

Google earnings show it accelerating investment in acquisitions and R&D


The results missed analysts expectations, but the search giant still grew revenues 19 percent year over year

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Google reported its results for the first quarter of the year today, posting revenue of $15.42 billion and earnings per share of $6.27. That missed analysts' estimates of $15.52 billion in revenue and earnings of $6.42 a share. That's a miss on the top and bottom line, and the stock is trending down in after-hours trading.

The company's stock has been on a tremendous run. As the team over at Risk Reversal notes, Google is "one of the few mega cap stocks in the US that offers double-digit earnings growth. In fact, [Google] has grown earnings and sales at least 10 percent in every year since the stock IPO’ed back in 2004."

Google grew its revenue 19 percent year over year

Two weeks ago the company completed a stock split that doubled the number and halved the price of individual shares from around $1,060 to $530. While the total value of outstanding shares shouldn't be affected by the split, there is often a psychological effect of lowering the price per share. It may offer new incentives as investors see an opportunity for greater retail interest in Google's stock at this lower price.

Google made some big moves in the last four months. It sold Motorola, giving up on its most expensive acquisition to date and conceding that perhaps it had moved too deeply into the hardware space. At the same time, it acquired Nest and dove into new projects around smartwatches and modular phones. Google took a large one time charge for its $3.2 billion purchase of Nest.

For the time being, however, Google's revenues are still comprised almost entirely of digital sales around advertising, apps, and media. Google's Play Store is now larger than iOS in terms of quarterly downloads, although Apple still holds the edge in terms of revenue. But a new report from App Annie indicates that Google is closing the gap on revenue as well.

R&D spending continues to increase

The company has garnered a lot of press for its ambitious research projects, things like driverless cars and Wi-Fi balloons. Its spending on R&D was up roughly $500 million since this time last year, increasing to from 12 to 14 percent of its overall revenues. Interestingly its operating margins declined by 2 percent over the same period.

Overall the picture that develops is a company that is willing to sacrifice some of its raw growth and profits in exchange for looking to the future through acquisitions and research projects. And while its numbers missed analysts expectations, Google still managed to grow its revenue 19 percent year over year.