CBS This Morning‘s Charlie Rose has a fascinating interview this morning with Oracle CEO Larry Ellison. The billionaire describes the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs — his former best friend — as “our Edison…our Picasso” and adds that under Tim Cook the company “will not be nearly so successful.”Ellison also attacks Google CEO Larry Page: Google’s Android operating system infringes on Oracle’s copyrights for Java, the company says.
“I’m sorry for the scramble earlier today,” Google CEO Larry Page told analysts on a conference call. And that was that regarding the uproar today after the company’s earnings were prematurely released — resulting in a temporary halt in trading. Execs continued to cheer-lead, especially as they talked up progress in rolling out Android-powered devices. “Most people thought we were nuts” to develop the operating system, Page — whose voice is hoarse — said, adding that there are now a half-billion Android-powered devices. He’s also enthusiastic about Google TV, saying that “it’s great to have a real browser on your television” and that the company is “working hard to get distribution for YouTube, for Chrome and for the Internet as a whole on television screens. We’re very excited about that, we’re still in the early stages of that.” Page says that the company is “in the early stages” of rolling out Google Fiber — the state-of-the-art video and broadband service it recently introduced in Kansas City. “I’m excited about the user experience there.” Meanwhile YouTube “continues to grow like crazy,” he says. “The recent video with the horse dancing, Gangnam Style, has 500M views….If you’re the provider of content it’s an amazing thing.” Despite the execs’ abundant optimism, Google shares are up less than 1% in after-market trading.
The search giant is down more than 9% after reporting 4Q earnings of $8.22 a share, below the Street’s $8.41 consensus forecast. Net profit came in at $2.7B, up 6.4% vs the same period last year, on revenues of $10.6B, up 25.4%. But when ad commissions are taken out, the revenue figure drops to $8.1B, which is short of what most analysts expected. Google-owned sites accounted for 69% of total revenues. Although investors were disappointed, CEO Larry Page was ebullient: “I am super excited about the growth of Android, Gmail, and Google+, which now has 90M users globally. … I’m very excited about what we can do in 2012 — there are tremendous opportunities to help users and grow our business.” He declined to tell analysts how many Google+ users he expects to have a year from now.
EXCLUSIVE: I’ve learned that Google has put Hollywood on notice to keep mum as it prepares to announce its big plan to redefine YouTube with 25 or so channels that will offer professionally produced news, information and entertainment. Google plans to spend an estimated $150M for the services — top tier channels would get about $5M apiece. I’m told that the search giant wants to unveil its initial slate of channels by the end of this month. They’d go live in January. YouTube is gearing up to announce additional channels in January that would be up around April. Partners expected in the the first round include Warner Bros., Shine Group, BermanBraun, FremantleMedia, and skate boarder Tony Hawk. But Google has insisted that partners sign non-disclosure agreements — and has warned that those identified publicly before things are official might be cut out of the announcement. There’s also lots of skittishness because Google will control the promotion and ad sales for many of the channels.
So what does this mean? Google hopes that the slick productions will open doors on Madison Avenue where many major advertisers still turn their backs on YouTube’s user-generated content. If the financial model works, then Google could launch countless channels to make it the destination of choice for people who want to explore passions or interests that are too specialized for mass media including broadcast and cable TV.
Google’s investment is huge in the nickel-and-dime world … Read More »
The leading Internet search company says its 2Q net income of $2.5 billion is up 36.1% vs the same period last year on revenues of $9 billion, up 32%. Earnings, at $8.74 a share not counting employee stock costs, handily beat analyst expectations of $7.84. Most of the growth came from ad sales at Google-owned sites, including YouTube. CEO Larry Page didn’t say much about the financials in the announcement, apparently concluding it was more important to disclose that he’s “super excited about the amazing response to Google+”, the company’s new social-network service. The Street will be more interested in hearing about Google’s investment plans — and the status of the FTC inquiry into the company’s search and ad business practices.
3rd UPDATE: Ever since it was announced last week that Google CEO Eric Schmidt would be stepping aside in April and that co-founder Larry Page would take over the day-to-day operation of the search giant, everyone’s been wondering if Schmidt would make the move to TV. Today in Germany, at the Digital-Life-Design conference, he addressed those rumors simply by keeping the door open. When asked how long he plans to stay at Google, he responded, “As long as it’s exciting.”
2nd UPDATE: Just days after announcing that he’ll be stepping aside as Google’s CEO, Eric Schmidt is getting a pretty big bonus. Enormous, actually. He’s set to pocket $100 million as he steps into another role, with co-founder Larry Page taking over the day-to-day leadership. The whopping amount is a comprised of stock options and vests over four years. The $100 million award also comes as a Securities and Exchange Commission filing last week reveled Schmidt could be selling up to $335 million in stock — and also revealed how much stock he has actually amassed over his 10 years in the top job: 9.2 million shares.
UPDATE: Big Media moguls only can wish they’d reap a stock bonanza like this. In a regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, it was revealed that Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt, stepping aside in April after 10 years as CEO, will be selling what could amount to be $335 million in stock. As of the end-of-year 2010, Schmidt owned 9.2 million shares in Google. The company’s stock closed at $626.77 a share on Thursday. So what he’s planning to unload represents only about 6% of his total stock ownership. In Q4 earnings reported on Thursday, revenues rose 26% growth vs last year. Co-founder Larry Page will be taking over the CEO role. Read More »
The lawsuit was filed today in Seattle’s U.S. District Court. The Microsoft co-founder has always been mercurial, to say the least, but this is like a bolt out of the blue. The implications are staggering — especially considering that the lawsuit, according to news reports, says Allen’s Interval Licensing LLC provided initial research funding for Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, which “resulted in Google”. According to the complaint as described by news reports, Interval alleges that Google, Google’s YouTube unit, Apple, AOL, Facebook, Yahoo, eBay, Netflix, Office Depot, OfficeMax, and Staples all violated four of Interval’s patents issued between the years 2000 and 2004 related to Internet browser technology and the display of information for shopping, news, video and other online content. Interval Licensing was founded in 1992 by Allen and venture capitalist David Liddle. Interval Licensing asks for unspecified damages, and an injunction preventing the defendants from further infringement or “a royalty for post-judgment infringement”.
EXCLUSIVE: The founders of Facebook aren’t the only game-changing geeks poised to have their story told on a movie screen. Michael London’s Groundswell Productions has teamed with producer John Morris to acquire movie rights to the Ken Auletta book Googled: The End of the World As We Know it. They will use the book as the blueprint for a feature film that tells the story of Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page and the fast rise of the juggernaut web business that made them billionaires.
The book was published last fall by Penguin. Auletta, the media columnist for The New Yorker, chronicled a business that grew into a search engine-driven octopus whose $20 billion in ad revenue last year was more than the major broadcast networks combined. CEO Eric Schmidt predicted to Auletta that Google will become the world’s first $100 billion media company.
While the Facebook founder story being told in the upcoming David Fincher-directed The Social Network revolves around a group of Harvard pals who squabbled in success, the Google narrative plays out differently. Google was formed by the duo while they were Stanford Ph.D students who had ideas on how to make a better search engine. They founded Google on principles like “You can make money without doing evil” and “You can be serious without a suit.” London … Read More »