Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Google Braces for Its First Quarterly Decline

google-logoLet’s get this out of the way in advance: When Google delivers its first-quarter report card today, it will likely mark the first time the search giant sees revenue decline from one quarter to the next.

So that’s a big deal. But it has also been expected for some time now. So what should you be looking for?

As Barron’s Eric Savitz notes, Wall Street analysts have been furiously tweaking their estimates–generally downward–in advance of this afternoon’s report. Citigroup’s (C) ever-helpful Mark Mahaney provides the following “cheat sheet” that lays out the key metrics, along with a range of possible results (click to enlarge):


I’ll also be interested in what, if any, color Google (GOOG) offers about its nascent move into display advertising and if it can clarify exactly what is going on at YouTube–is the video site bleeding $500 million a year, as Credit Suisse has recently suggested, or is it “nearing break-even,” as Bernstein’s Jeffrey Lindsay argued in a note yesterday?

And given that Google is the first big Internet company to report this quarter–and, aside from Gannett (GCI), the first big media company to report–I’ll also be interested in whatever Eric Schmidt and company have to say about the advertising market in general. The Google earnings call is scheduled to start at 4:30 p.m. Eastern; you can find live coverage here.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work