Google revenues up, profits down

Google has reported increased revenues in fourth quarter financial results, but reduced profits after takingstrategic stakes in Clearwire...

Google has reported increased revenues in fourth quarter financial results, but reduced profits after takingstrategic stakes in Clearwire and AOL.

Total revenue was $5.7bn, which represents an 18% increase over the same period in 2007 and a 3% increase on the third quarter of 2008.

"Google performed well in the fourth quarter, despite an increasingly difficult economic environment," said Google chief executive Eric Schmidt.

He said it was unclear how long the downturn would last, but Google's focus would remain on the long term.

"We will continue to invest in the core search and ads business, as well as strategic growth areas such as display, mobile and enterprise," Schmidt said.

Google's earnings from paid-for clicks on ads increased by 18% over the same period in 2007 and 10% on the third quarter of 2008.

Net profit for the period was $382m, down from $1.29bn in the third quarter due to losses of $1.09bn from the decline in the value of investments in AOL and Clearwire.

Google also announced a stock option exchange plan at the end of January "to create incentives for employees to remain" at the company.

Schmidt said many of the current options would cost more to exercise than they are worth. Employees will now be able to exchange options for new ones at current share prices.

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