Google earnings top analyst expectations; YouTube revenues double

Google easily beat analysts' expectation for earnings in the fourth quarter, with EPS of $8.75, well above the forecast $8.09. Revenue, meanwhile, came in at $8.44 billion, which also topped estimates. Both numbers took a back seat to the news that CEO Eric Schmidt, who has been at the helm of the company since 2001, was being nudged aside, assuming the role of executive chairman of the search giant; he's being replaced as chief executive by co-founder Larry Page on April 4 (see related story).

Google's earnings were strong, but not as strong as rival Apple's, which reported a 71 percent increase in revenue in its most recent quarter. While Goolge has struggled to get its Google TV platform off the ground and has suffered through the woeful rollout of its Nexus One smartphone and its doomed social networking effort, Buzz, Apple has hit the jackpot with the iPhone and iPad.

Nevertheless, Google's $8.44 billion in revenue was a 26 percent increase from the like period a year ago. Fourth quarter profit came in at $2.54 billion, up from $1.97 billion. As usual, Google Sites generated the bulk of revenue, some to-thirds, or $5.67 billion; it was a 28 percent year-over-year increase. For the year, Google had $29.3 billion in revenue, an increase over 2009 of 24 percent. New income for 2010 was $8.5 billion, up 30 percent from 2009's $6.5 billion.

"Q4 marked a terrific end to a stellar year," said Schmidt.

CFO Patrick Pichette, at the end of Thursday's conference call with investors, said YouTube revenues had more than doubled from a year ago. Citigroup analyst Mark Mahaney in March said he expected the video hub to generate about $945 million in revenue during 2010, swelling to more than $1.1 billion by 2011.

For more:
- see this release
- see an earnings slideshow
- see this WSJ article

Related articles:
YouTube's a billion dollar baby by 2011
YouTube birthday wishes; it continues to define the online video 
YouTube front page ads draw top dollar as the video hub drifts
Google CEO Schmidt says 2010 is year YouTube turns a profit 
Analyst: YouTube will be profitable in 2010