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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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