Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Google Earnings Today. Love to Hear From You, Larry.

Hey Larry! How are you?

Come on in! Take a seat! Tell us how things are going!

No? Gotta run?

OK, then. See you in three months …

That’s a replay, more or less, of Google’s earnings call last quarter, the first one under the Larry Page regime.

Lots of folks thought it might be nice to hear what the new boss had to say about his company, but Page didn’t play along. He showed up for the first few minutes, muttered 370 nondescriptive words, and took off.

You can argue, convincingly, that Larry Page is the co-founder of a really, really successful company, and that if he doesn’t want to follow Wall Street tradition — like sticking around for the duration of his earnings call — he shouldn’t have to.

Still, Google’s stock did plummet after that call, and has yet to recover, even after a post-Google+ runup.

It’s much more likely that Google shares dropped because Wall Street is more worried about the company’s spending, and competition from Facebook, than about Page’s presentational skills. But wouldn’t it be nice to remove that bit of uncertainty from the equation?

As usual, here’s Citigroup analyst Mark Mahaney’s “cheat sheet” for today’s proceedings, so you can play along at home. The market is looking for revenues of $6.54 billion and earnings of $7.87; given last quarter’s performance, it’s reasonable to assume investors will also be looking closely at capital expenditures and margins. (Click image to enlarge).

Also as usual, many of us will hope to hear more about Google’s efforts beyond its core search business — YouTube, mobile and now social. That information doesn’t have to come from Page, of course. But if he wants to speak up, we won’t complain.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik