Google owner Alphabet has posted strong quarterly and year-end financial results, beating Wall Street expectations.

The growth comes despite the Coronavirus pandemic that continues to engulf the world, as Google reaped the benefits of increased demand for advertising spend and its cloud operations.

But the firm continues to face some notable challenges, with its position in Australia in question, and multiple antitrust investigations in both the United States, and Europe.

Strong growth

Despite these challenges it is clear from the fourth quarter and year-end financial results, that the firm continues to witness strong growth across most of its operations, as retailers spent heavily on advertising to tempt online purchases during national lockdowns.

For the fourth quarter ending 31 December, Alphabet posted a net profit up 43 percent $15.2bn, from a profit of $10.7bn in the same year-ago quarter.

Quarterly revenues increased 23 percent to $56.9bn from $46bn a year ago.

And it was equally good news when looking at Alphabet’s annual financial performance.

For the full year Alphabet posted a net profit of $40.2bn, up from $34.4bn in the year 2019.

Full year revenues also rose 13 percent to $182.5bn from $161.8bn.

Alphabet shares jumped about 8 percent to $2,067 in extended trading, thanks in part to its results exceeding Wall Street expectations.

“Our strong results this quarter reflect the helpfulness of our products and services to people and businesses, as well as the accelerating transition to online services and the cloud,” said Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and Alphabet. “Google succeeds when we help our customers and partners succeed, and we see significant opportunities to forge meaningful partnerships as businesses increasingly look to a digital future.”

Cost control

“Google’s products and support have been a lifeline for millions of small medium businesses hit hard by the pandemic,” Pichai was quoted by Reuters as telling analysts on a conference call.

Google has been attempting to keep costs up control however.

This week it announced it was closing another project, namely its internal studios that were developing games for its Stadia cloud gaming platform.

Last month Google unexpectedly shut down its high altitude balloon-based Project Loon.

It has also closed down its Google Plus and Shoelace social platforms, and in 2019 Google also axed the popular Google Trips app.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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