Google Revenue Tops $50 Billion – But Search Share Slips A Bit

Peter Judge has been involved with tech B2B publishing in the UK for many years, working at Ziff-Davis, ZDNet, IDG and Reed. His main interests are networking security, mobility and cloud

Huge dominance in search keeps Google profits fat

Google revenue has squeaked past a major milestone, hitting  just over $50 billion (£31.6bn) for 2012. Meanwhile, its massive dominance in the search market suffered a small slip, falling below 90 percent for the second month running.

The search giant made $10.7 billion (£6.76nm) profit on turnover of $50.175 billion (£31.7bn) , up from a profit of $9.7 billion on $38 billion turnover in 2011.  Meanwhile, figures from Experian showed a small dip in Google’s massive share of the search market. However, Google executives are unlikely to be losing any sleep over a drop to an 88 percent share of online searches, as the company continues to take mobile phones by storm.

Gargantuan Google

“We ended 2012 with a strong quarter,” said Google CEO Larry Page (shown here wearing Google Glass augmented reality specs). “Revenues were up 36 percent year-on-year, and 8 percent quarter on quarter. And we hit $50 billion in revenues for the first time last year,” he said, during a media conference call.

The achievement came after 17 years of operation, and Page looked forward to future developments. “In today’s multi-screen world, we face tremendous opportunities as a technology company focused on user benefit. It’s an incredibly exciting time to be at Google.”

The figure was slightly more of an achievement considering that Googleabsorbed the loss-making Motorola Mobility during 2012. Operational losses at Motorola Mobility have been reported as $353 million for the last quarter. Google successfully offloaded Motorola’s home networking division for $2.35 billion, and got tax relief on its restructuring  costs, trimming the Motorola losses.

Although Google can easily swallow losses of that kind, it will be hoping to get more success from Motorola’s patents this year, which have so far not proven to be a show-stopper against competing devices from Apple or Microsoft.

Google is also expected to bring out a super-phone from the Motorola unit this year, sometimes referred to as the “X Phone”.

Search share dips

The two percent dip in Google’s search, measured by Experian in December, coincides with a one percent growth in Microsoft Bing searches, which now now stand at 5 percent, far behind Google’s 88 percent share.

Google’s effective search monopoly led to an investigation by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) which cleared Google of anti-trust abuses earlier this month. A European investigation into possible abuses continues, however.

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