Peter Kafka

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Google to Wall Street: You’ve Got Our Q4 Numbers Wrong

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAHere’s one you don’t see every day: Google telling Wall Street analysts that their estimates are too high.

Google issued the heads-up this morning, via a blog post on its investor relations page, ahead of Q4 earnings on Tuesday.

The gist: Google is selling off its Motorola set-top-box unit — its “Home business” — so it’s not going to include numbers from that group in its main report.

But apparently the Street hasn’t figured that one out. “As of this writing, a majority of Wall Street analysts who cover Google have not reflected the Home business as discontinued operations in their estimates,” writes chief accountant Brent Callinicos.

In real-world terms, Google is telling the Street that its Q4 net revenue will be about $1 billion less than the $12.4 billion they are expecting, and that their consensus EPS of $10.58 is about 40 cents too high, as well.

Perhaps it’s not a coincidence that J.P. Morgan’s Doug Anmuth put out new estimates last night that don’t include the set-top-box group. Here’s what those look like (the new numbers also include a few tweaks Anmuth made regarding the rest of Google’s operations):

Google Q4 JP Morgan

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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