Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Yawn — And Get Ready for Another Giant Quarter From Google

There’s always a chance that Google delivers something other than a monster Q4 this afternoon. But that is really going to mess with Wall Street, which is expecting epic stuff.

Earlier this month, investors pushed Google shares up past $670 — the highest they’ve ever been. They’ve since pulled back a bit, but not for performance reasons: The Street still expects Google to post net revenue of around $8.4 billion — that’s up about 30 percent over the previous year — and earnings of around $10.46 a share — up about 20 percent.

If there are questions out there about Google, the Street seems to think they’re about what could happen — government regulation, a misstep with the $12.5 billion Motorola Mobility deal, etc. — than what just happened over the last three months.

Analysts who have been listening to search marketers say they don’t see any real signs of slowdown over the last quarter, even as other ad businesses have been roughed up. (We’ll ignore, for now, an outlier report from Kantar Media which reports a huge and puzzling decrease in paid search.)

As always, there is lots of interesting stuff going on at Google. And, as usual, you can expect Larry Page and company to say very little about it, other than making vague comments about the strength of their core search business, and some acknowledgement that their video, mobile and display ads are starting to become very significant businesses of their own.

In a fantasy world, we’d like to hear Page, et al, talk about what they really think about Facebook, and whether that move to shove Google+ pages into Google search results is as telling as it seems to be. We’d also like to hear more detail about their plans for Motorola, assuming the deal goes through early this year. Don’t hold your breath.

For more grounded speculation, we can consult this cheat sheet from Citi’s Mark Mahaney, which lets you see how different results might move GOOG shares. We continue to find these summaries as useful as ever (click image to enlarge):


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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