Google hits record $50bn annual revenues in 2012

Google has reported $14.4bn revenues for the fourth quarter of 2012 and a record-breaking $50bn annual revenues for the year

Google has reported $14.4bn in revenues for the fourth quarter of 2012 and a record-breaking $50bn in annual revenues year, despite a fall in online advertising revenues.

The quarterly results beat analysts' expectations and were 36% higher than the same quarter the year before.

Google shares rose by almost 5% in after-hours trading, following the better-than-expected results.

"We ended 2012 with a strong quarter," said Larry Page, Google's co-founder and CEO. 

"Revenues were up 36% year-on-year, and 8% quarter-on-quarter. And we hit $50bn in revenues for the first time – not a bad achievement in just a decade and a half."

Total advertising revenue was up 19%, compared with 25% growth a year ago. Google's own sites generated revenues of $8.64bn in the fourth quarter of 2012, up 18% on the year before. Google's partner sites generated revenues of $3.44bn, an increase of 19%.

Google posted a quarterly profit of $2.89bn, up 6% on the same period a year ago. Paid clicks increased 24% year on year and were up 9% from the last quarter.

But analysts point out that this growth was tempered by a 6% fall in cost-per-click, the price paid by advertisers.

Analysts said that, like other businesses that depend on online ads, Google is finding the value of its business eroded by the shift to mobile.

In the third quarter, Google’s share price fell when it warned that a growing shift to mobile searches could hit revenues.

Google's strong fourth-quarter performance came as technology giant, IBM, revealed its earnings grew 6% in the fourth quarter.

IBM’s results were boosted by lucrative software businesses, such as internet-based computing, according to the BBC.

IBM earned $5.8bn between October and December, compared with $5.5bn over the same period a year earlier.

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