Google Q4 2011 earnings: Analysts expectations not met despite record quarter, stock plummets

Google just announced its record-breaking fourth-quarter earnings and, within minutes of reporting, the Mountain View, Calif.-based Company dropped a whopping 10 percent in early-after hours trading due to missed expectations.

Google missed analyst expectations for earnings per share during Q4 2011 and its stock immediately plummeted. Analysts predicted the company would produce $10.49 in non-GAAP earnings per share, but it only amounted to $9.50 in earnings per share (versus $8.75 in the Q4 2010).

Nevertheless, the earnings’ upswing surpassed the $9.72 billion revenue reported in Q3 2011. Google revenue hit a record $10.58 billion in Q4 2011, before deducting traffic acquisition costs, which is a 25 percent increase from $8.44 billion a year earlier. Profit also grew to $2.71 billion, compared to $2.54 billion in the Q4 2010.

“Google had a really strong quarter ending a great year. Full year revenue was up 29 percent, and our quarterly revenue blew past the $10 billion mark for the first time,” said Larry Page, CEO of Google, in a press release.

Android, Gmail, and Google+ are also growing. The new social network reached 90 million users globally, which is “well over double what I announced just three months ago,” Page explained. The CEO also announced today that Google saw 250 million Android device activations, and over 11 billion apps downloaded from the Android Market.

“I’m very excited about what we can do in 2012 – there are tremendous opportunities to help users and grow our business,” Page said.

Although Google did not meet analysts’ expectations, the company is trumpeting its first $10 billion quarter.

The Q4 2011 financial summary and highlights are detailed below.

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Anandtech’s take on ICS/Galaxy Nexus/Mobile computing

AnandTech does its typical thorough job of reviewing the Galaxy Nexus and, as you can see above, there is an in-depth analysis of the mobile landscape.  The conclusion was not much different from ours, however.  Spoiler:

As far as Ice Cream Sandwich is concerned, it really is Android perfected. Everything is smoother, faster and nearly all of our issues with the OS have been addressed. ICS brings Android into 2012 and gives Google a great platform to begin to introduce new features going forward. Android is now very close to UI performance parity with iOS, which eliminates a major tradeoff you had to make in the past. If you were hoping for ICS to be iOS with a Google logo on it, you’ll be sorely disappointed. However if you’re a fan of Android and just wished it were smoother and more polished, Ice Cream Sandwich is what you’ve been waiting for.

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EU to decide on Google, Motorola Mobility acquisition Feb. 13

The European Commission set a Feb. 13 deadline to restart its antitrust review and decide whether to approve Google Inc.’s proposed acquisition of Motorola Mobility Holdings, Inc.

According to Reuters, the Mountain View, Calif.-based Company came forward with new documents to support its case, so the EU lifted the temporary suspension in order to make a decision next month.

The commission took a “routine” step and hit the pause button on its Jan. 10 deadline last month to gather more information and documents from Google, but the EU still anticipated the deal to close in 2012. It seems as though the commission’s forecast may be correct, as Motorola shareholders already announced their unanimous approval last November…

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In South Korea, Galaxy S II sales surpass 5 million units

One in 10 South Koreans now own a Galaxy S II smartphone made by Samsung as the company announced that sales of the handset in the 48 million-people country surpassed 5 million units, or more than 10 percent of the country’s population. It took Samsung nine months to hit the milestone since the phone’s release at the end of April 2011.

Strong domestic sales helped Samsung achieve a 53 percent market share for smartphones in South Korean throughout 2011. Japanese business daily The Nikkei said the Galaxy S II is the first handset to sell that many units in the country. In September of last year, Samsung sold 3.5 million Galaxy S II smartphones in South Korea. The 1.2GHz dual-core device comes with a 4.27-inch Super AMOLED Plus display, 1GB RAM, Android 2.3 and is upgradeable to Ice Cream Sandwich.

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Larry Page: Google is helping its employees quit smoking (and other tidbits)

Google CEO Larry Page is on a mission to remodel his company’s organizational structure and preserve startup mentality that helped create the Internet’s most important asset. He has been on it ever since he took over the reigns from Eric Schmidt in April of last year, and just like Steve Jobs did upon his return from exile —Page mercilessly axed many internal projects while doubling down on a few that do matter. He namely focused on Google’s social thing marketed under the Google+ moniker.

We were promised “moonshots” as Page set out to Jobs-ify the company he cofounded with Sergey Brin. Heck, Page’s already been named ‘CEO of the Year’ by Investors Business DailyFortune’s Senior Editor-at-Large Adam Lashinsky sat down with Page to discuss life at Google. His exclusive interview with Page revealed that Google is “more realistic about recruiting” and “kinder about tolerating underperformers.”

As of last year, the company began recruiting at such nonpedigreed institutions as Texas A&M and the State University of New York at Buffalo; interview sessions that often involved as many as 12 screenings now average between four and five.

This is in stark contrast to Apple, a company built on secrets and famous for its relentless pursuit of A-players. Lashinsky profiled Apple extensively in his upcoming book called “Inside Apple: How America’s Most Admired – and Secretive – Company Really Works,” due for release Jan. 25.

Page said Google’s famous perks, such as free food and gym, are remaining (“I don’t worry about the cost”). He also noted Google is going the extra mile to help employees live a healthy lifestyle, which includes helping them quit smoking…

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Amazon releases version 6.2.2 for Kindle Fire, featuring full-screen Silk browsing mode

Amazon just released software version 6.2.2 for the Kindle Fire. While Amazon has yet to release an official change log, users are reporting it on the Kindle Fire support forums, and it can be found as an over-the-air download. The minor software release brings full-screen Silk browsing for your enjoyment. We will keep an eye out for other changes. (via The Verge)

Google+ lets users ‘join discussion’ from social network’s search results

While conducting a search on Google+, a user can only comment on an existing post or share a found item, however, the Google+ team announced a new feature today that lets users start a conversation directly from search results.

Until now, options for interacting with a certain phrase or interest was limited to commenting and posting. The newly announced component suddenly turns a search into a conversation and relieves the pressure from users needing original content to partake in discussions…

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Google+ ‘What’s Hot’ Web app update

Google announced two new features for Google+, including a “What’s Hot” stream that allows users to see the most interesting content shared throughout Google+, and users can now view who has “+1′d” posts —not just the count.

These minor tweaks display Google’s attempts to make Google+ more interactive and attractive. The “What’s Hot” stream on mobile devices could be a response to Twitter’s “Discover” feature that surfaced last month. It is accessible in the Web app by swiping to the right of the Circles stream, and a constant view of trending posts for Google+ will immediately appear. This ensures a flurry of content, even when people within a user’s Circles are silent for the day…

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Android takes its spot in history of personal computing platforms

Horace Dediu at Asymco —with help from data published by Jeremy Reimer— has put together the graphic above (click for full graphic), and in the video below he plotted the history of personal computing over the last 37 years. Dediu took Reimer’s data, added smartphone statistics, and updated PC and Apple numbers from Gartner.

We learn from the data that Android, along with iPad and iPhone, accounts for a higher volume of units shipped than the entire PC industry throughout the same time. Specifically, the PC industry accounted for 336 million units shipped in 2011 (not including Macs), in comparison to Android and iOS devices shipping 358 million. While Android is grouped with iOS, you can see in the graphic that Android is clearly way ahead of iPhone and iPad when the two devices are not grouped together.  You can check out the same data shown in the animation below and read the full report here:

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Motorola XOOM Wi-Fi gets ICS joining the ASUS Transformer

If you are after an Ice Cream Sandwich tablet you now have exactly two options: the ASUS Transformer Prime which got the update last week, or the Motorola XOOM Wi-Fi that just got ICS, according to Motorola.

Note that only the Wi-Fi version gets ICS.  The 3G/LTE versions are coming shortly —we are assuming— due to radio issues.

It is still impressive of ASUS/embarrassing for Google/MOT that ASUS beat the Android tablet reference design to ICS.  The press release is available below…

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YouTube launches action sports channels with Tony Hawk’s RIDE, The Red Bull Channel, and more

Yesterday Reuters announced it became YouTube’s largest news partner with a redesigned Reuters TV channel, and now YouTube is continuing its push of original content with a brand new lineup of action sports channels.

The new channels include action sports networks Alli Sports and Network A, Red Bull: The Red Bull Channel with 13 original episodic programs, and RIDE —Tony Hawk’s 24-hour channel “devoted to the skateboarding lifestyle” that will roll out 21 new shows throughout 2012.

The four channels have each released preview videos showing off what you can expect in terms of content. The preview video for Tony Hawk’s RIDE channel is above, and the other three are available below. YouTube also announced today that it has made its CES 2012 keynote address available online where the company talked about some of the new original content headed to the website in the future. To accompany the keynote video, YouTube released the teaser video below featuring Stan Lee, Rainn Wilson, Felicia Day, and others bringing original content to YouTube in the coming months.

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