It was surely a matter of time, but Google reported Jan. 22 that it has surpassed the $50 billion-per-year mark in its 17th year in business.
The world's busiest search engine and Web services company ended the fiscal and calendar year 2012 with a total of $50.175 billion in gross revenue and $10.7 billion in profit. Google earned $38 billion and profited $9.7 billion in 2011.
Amazon.com, which made $48 billion in 2011 and is scheduled to announce its Q4 2012 earnings on Jan. 29, will become the only other Web services company to smash the $50 billion barrier in 2012. To add some perspective, eBay last year banked $11.6 billion, Yahoo $4.9 billion and Salesforce $2.3 billion.
In Q4 2012, Mountain View, Calif.-based Google reported revenues of $14.42 billion, up 36 percent year over year. Net income in Q4 2012 was $2.89 billion, up from $2.71 billion last year.
Page Happy with a 'Strong' Quarter
"We ended 2012 with a strong quarter," an understating CEO Larry Page told analysts and journalists on a conference call. "Revenues were up 36 percent year on year, and 8 percent quarter on quarter. And we hit $50 billion in revenues for the first time last year—not a bad achievement in just a decade and a half.
"In today's multi-screen world, we face tremendous opportunities as a technology company focused on user benefit," said Page. "It's an incredibly exciting time to be at Google."
Google-owned sites brought in $8.64 billion (67 percent of total revenue) in Q4 2012, an 18 percent increase over a year ago. Google's partner sites generated revenue of $3.44 billion (27 percent of total revenues), in Q4. This is a 19 percent increase from Q4 2011.
Google revenues from outside the United States totaled $6.9 billion, or 54 percent of total revenue in Q4 2012. This was flat compared with 53 percent in Q3 2012 and 53 percent in Q4 2011.
One issue with the quarterly report involved the Q4 sale of Motorola's home mobile business, which Google had bought as part of Motorola's Mobility business in May 2012 for $12.5 billion. In December, Google decided after only seven months of ownership to sell the money-losing Motorola Home business to Arris Group for about $2.35 billion in cash and stock.
Motorola's Home division sells set-top boxes for consumer cable television services.
Motorola: A $21 Million Quarterly Loss
On its Q4 2012 earnings reports, Google took restructuring and related charges connected with the Motorola business of $178 million, with related tax benefits at $65 million. Thus, the company suffered a net loss of $21 million in the quarter from the Motorola business.
"Just to remind everybody, we do care about profitability," Google CFO Patrick Pichette told listeners on the call. "That is our goal in every area where we invest. We are really [only] 180 days into this [Motorola] journey, and we have made a ton of progress, including the sale of the home business, the outsourcing of our manufacturing and so much more."
Pichette added, "I remind you that we inherited 12 to 18 months of product pipeline that we have to work through."
The company is focused on rebuilding this product pipeline, said Pichette. "It does take time before it shows up."