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Google reports 36% revenue jump

Google reported this week that its fourth-quarter revenue for 2012 was up 36% over the previous year, attributing the continued growth to its advertising business.

Revenue for the quarter was $14.42 billion, up from $10.6 billion a year earlier, Google announced on Tuesday. The figure excludes the commissions and fees that Google pays to other sites that run its ads. Taking those into account, revenue for the last quarter was $11.34 billion.

Net income was $2.89 billion, or $8.62 a share, compared to $2.71 billion, or $8.22 per share, in the fourth quarter a year earlier, Google said. The latest figure includes the loss from Motorola’s set-top box business, Motorola Home, which Google agreed to sell in December.

On a pro forma basis, excluding the Motorola loss and other one-time items, net income would have been $3.57 billion, or $10.65 a share, compared to $3.13 billion, or $9.50 per share, in the fourth quarter of 2011, Google said.

In a statement, Larry Page, CEO, Google, said that the firm’s full-year revenue topped $50 billion for the first time. “Not a bad achievement in just a decade and a half,” he said.

Google announced its acquisition of Motorola Mobility last May, in a move intended to accelerate its mobile computing business. It announced a plan to sell the Home division to Arris in December for $2.35 billion in cash and stock. The transaction is expected to close this year.

During a conference call on Tuesday with analysts, Page highlighted the importance of maintaining focus for the company. “We face so many opportunities it’s always important to thoughtfully invest in the right areas where we can have the greatest impact,” he said. “We don’t want to spread ourselves too thin.”

Google executives said that they have inherited a 12 to 18-month product pipeline from the Motorola transaction that “we’re still working through”. Google’s consolidated revenues would have been $15.24 billion had Motorola Home been included, the firm noted.

Revenue from Google’s own websites made up two-thirds of its total revenue and was up 18% from last year. Revenue from its partner sites generated 27% of revenue, an increase of 19%, Google said. Its “other” revenue category accounted for the remainder.

Paid clicks, or the clicks on search ads that advertisers pay for, grew by 24% over 2011’s fourth quarter. However, the cost of paid clicks, or the money Google charges when someone clicks on an ad, fell by 6%.

Google’s stock was trading at $737.01 in the after hours, following its Tuesday closing price of $702.87.

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