Google Internet business solid despite Motorola losses

Thu Apr 18, 2013 8:29pm EDT
 
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By Alexei Oreskovic

(Reuters) - Google Inc's core Internet business grew net revenue 23 percent in the first quarter, softening the effect of a sharp decline in its Motorola mobile phone division.

Shares of Google, which reached an all-time high of $844 in March, were up 1.5 percent to $777.75 in after hours trading on Thursday.

"Google eked out an acceptable quarter, but it wasn't easy," said Stifel Nicolaus analyst Jordan Rohan.

Google's core search advertising business remains solid but unexciting, Rohan said.

He noted that Google's adjusted profit of $11.58 per share benefited from a significantly lower tax rate due to a retroactive research and development tax credit. Without that benefit, Rohan said Google would have missed Wall Street's earnings target of $10.66 per share.

The world's No.1 Internet search engine, Google has stepped up efforts to adapt its business to a rapidly changing technology landscape in which consumers are increasingly accessing the Web using mobile devices instead of PCs.

The company's Android operating system has leaped past Apple Inc's iPhone and its iOS software to become the most popular smartphone software, used on more than 70 percent of devices, according to industry research firm Gartner.

Google improved its cost-per-click, a critical metric that refers to the price advertisers pay the Internet search giant, in the first quarter. The CPC rate declined 4 percent year-on-year in the first quarter, versus a 6 percent decline in the fourth quarter.   Continued...

 
A Google sign is seen at a Best Buy electronics store in this photo illustration in Encinitas, California April 11, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Blake