Following Google’s 10-k SEC filing last week which reaffirmed the size of the company’s war chest ($11B in liquid assets and growing), Google CEO Eric Schmidt took the stage at the Morgan Stanley Technology Conference today and said Google would not be changing how it spends cash.
“One of the problems in high-tech industries is that successful companies tend to generate cash pretty liberably,” Schmidt said, “(but) they don’t have good places to put it.” Google may be acruing a mountain of cash, but “it is not obvious to me where it would go.”
Sounds like one of those “good problems” to me.
Exactly how big is Google’s safe? In 2002 the company had revenues of $439.5 million. By 2006 those revenues were $10.6 billion in 2006. Google’s cash and short-term investments (liquid assets) amounted to over $11.2 billion at the end of 2006.
Though Google’s primary source of income — to the tune of 99% — is advertising, they have an astonishingly low traffic acquisition cost (TAC) percentage of 8%. (TAC is the portion of revenues that Google shares with its partners.) That, compared to Microsoft’s 22% cost of sales, Yahoo’s 20% and Apple’s 13%.