Google misses slightly in revenue as it's faced with AI competition, job losses, antitrust lawsuit
"The search giant underperformed our expectations across almost all business units, most importantly its core ad search segment."
What you need to know
- In Q4 2022, Alphabet posts $76.05 billion in revenue, a slight increase compared to a year ago in the same quarter.
- Earnings were $13.62 billion, or $1.05 per share, compared to $20.64 billion, or $1.53 per share, last year.
- These are the first earnings reported after Google laid off 6% of its working staff, or 12,000 people, is facing a new antitrust lawsuit, and faced with competition from Microsoft's investment in OpenAI's ChatGPT.
Alphabet, Google's parent company, slightly missed analyst expectations in its Q4 2022 earnings report, which was released on Feb 2.
The company reported a total revenue of $76.05 billion, up from $73.3 billion a year ago. Per MarketWatch, analysts that were polled by FactSet expected the company to report a total revenue of $76.2 billion, with "sales expected to be in-line with last year's results and profit declining from the holiday season a year ago."
"We're on an important journey to re-engineer our cost structure in a durable way and to build financially sustainable, vibrant, growing businesses across Alphabet," CEO Sundar Pichai, said in the earnings report.
Senior analyst at investing.com, Jesse Cohen, said Alphabet's earnings miss this quarter "proves it's not immune to the challenges facing the digital sector."
"The search giant underperformed our expectations across almost all business units, most importantly its core ad search segment. Once again, YouTube growth slowed to a crawl amid tough competition from TikTok and other players in the video-streaming space. Alphabet is being negatively impacted by worsening macroeconomic headwinds, such as soaring inflation and worries about a possible recession," Cohen writes.
According to the report, advertising sales slipped to $59 billion from $61.2 billion a year ago. Analyst expectations were $60.44 billion. YouTube ad sales slipped to $7.96 billion from $8.63 billion.
The dip in ad sales reflects the change in advertising models. Yahoo Finance reported that per Bank of America's Global Research analyst Justin Post, "advertiser spending in Q4 was 'soft' and that the first quarter of 2023 will be 'sluggish'."
This will also be the first earnings Google announced since laying off 12,000 people, or 6% of its workforce.
At the time Pichai said that the company has faced "dramatic growth" over the past two years and to match that growth the company had hired more people. That changed as the economic climate changed.
The company has been also faced with potential competition from Microsoft after investing in OpenAI's ChatGPT.
“Our long-term investments in deep computer science make us extremely well-positioned as AI reaches an inflection point, and I’m excited by the AI-driven leaps we’re about to unveil in Search and beyond. There’s also great momentum in Cloud, YouTube subscriptions, and our Pixel devices. We’re on an important journey to re-engineer our cost structure in a durable way and to build financially sustainable, vibrant, growing businesses across Alphabet," Pichai said in the earnings report.
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Shruti Shekar is Android Central's managing editor. She was born in India, brought up in Singapore, but now lives in Toronto and couldn't be happier. She started her journalism career as a political reporter in Ottawa, Canada's capital, and then made her foray into tech journalism at MobileSyrup and most recently at Yahoo Finance Canada. When work isn't on her mind, she loves working out, reading thrillers, watching the Raptors, and planning what she's going to eat the next day.