Thursday, April 20, 2006

Google shines!

For their latest quarter Google posted a better-than-expected 79% jump in revenue, fueled by market share gains in the Web advertising market.

Net income for the first quarter rose to $592 million, or $1.95 per diluted share, compared with the year-earlier quarter's $372 million, or $1.29 per diluted share. Revenue rose 79% to $2.25 billion, compared with Wall Street forecasts for 63% to 78% growth.

The markets loved the results and sent Google's shares up 5% in after hours trading. Google's results have knocked all of the concerns out of their Q4 performance and should help them to further share price gains - particularly as this is supposed to be their seasonally quieter period.

And Google's market share continues to strengthen. They had 49% of US searches conducted on their sites, according to recent data from Nielsen//NetRatings. Yahoo! remained in second place with 22.5%, while MSN ranked third with 10.9%.

Globally, Google's share of the Web search market is estimated by industry analysts to be greater than 60%.

As always, the biggest question on investors minds will be how in future quarters Google delivers concrete progress in developing other meaningful revenue streams from any one of their new initiatives. If I had to I would bet on Google Base, Google Video (if they ever improve it's looks and feel) and Google Software (mainly corporate search).

Let's see, but this is a great start to the year. Google could one day be the next Microsoft and with a revenue run rate already fast approaching $10bn annually they have one mean franchise.

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