Google's fourth quarter earnings rose up to 34% for the quarter ended December 31, 2008. The company reported a net income of $382 million, a big decline from the $1.21 billion the year earlier. Still, excluding one-time charges the earnings per share were $5.10, which is 15 cents above the $4.95 expected by financial analysts. The results sent Google shares up 2.6% in after-hours trading.
Total revenue reported was $5.7 billion, an 18% increase from the fourth quarter of 2007. Excluding the traffic acquisition costs, Google had $4.22 billion in revenue, (up by 24%) ahead of analysts' projections of $4.12 billion and the year-earlier $3.39 billion. Gross revenue is up by 4%. Google-owned sites generated 22% more revenue than the fourth quarter of 2007, contributing 67% of total revenue.
Google's Chief Executive Eric Schmidt said in a statement that Google had performed well in the fourth quarter, despite an increasingly difficult economic environment. Search query growth was strong, revenues were up in most verticals, and Google successfully contained costs. He also added that it was unclear how long the global downturn will last, but Google would remain focussing on the long term and will continue investing in Search and Ads business as well as in strategic growth areas such as display, mobile, and enterprise.
While pay freezes are becoming a common scene across the country as companies try to lower their expenses without firing employees, Google has announced a stock option exchange program for its employees.
So far - Apple, Google, HP and IBM are the only 4 big companies to have reported profit in their Q4 earnings.
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