"With great opportunities ahead, we continue to make focused investments in the talent and infrastructure needed to bring exceptional products and experiences to our users, advertisers and partners around the globe", said Alphabet chief financial officer Ruth Porat. The company's operating margin fell to 21% in the fourth quarter from 24% in the year-earlier period.
The growth, which was better than expected, was fueled in large part by Google's advertising business, which accounted for $32.6 billion of Alphabet's overall revenue - up 20% from $27.2 billion in the year prior.
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FILE PHOTO - The Google name is displayed outside the company's office in London, Britain November 1, 2018.
Concerns appear to be around how much Google is able to charge advertisers for ads.
On a per-share basis, the Mountain View, California-based company said it had profit of $12.77. Operating costs climbed a bit faster than revenue, and Alphabet devoted an eye-popping $25 billion to capital expenditures in the previous year. And on Amazon, advertisers can see when someone viewing or clicking their ads makes a purchase, something Google can't do since almost all of the sales its drives ultimately happen on other sites. That means Google places many more commercial messages in more places, people are surfing Google hangouts more, and the ads are generating results for the companies that buy them. "We'll continue down this path". New privacy rules in Europe may have limited this data harvesting slightly, but that's hit smaller competitors more than the two digital giants.
Alphabet is relying on its ad business to support sales and profit growth as it develops new offerings such as cloud services and consumer hardware. Wall Street was expecting $184 million.
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He's happy Google is spending heavily on YouTube, cloud and hardware.
"Everything we do at Google is united by the mission of making information accessible and useful for everyone", said CEO Sundar Pichai during the earnings call.
Another Google segment of wide interest, called "Other Bets", that includes such companies like as health venture Verily and self-driving firm Waymo, rose 18 percent, to $154 million, well short of the $187.4 million analysts were looking for. However, those operations showed a $1.3 billion operating loss.
Alphabet's report follows a big earnings week from industry heavyweights such as Apple Inc.
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Alphabet's cash and other short-term holdings totaled $109.14 billion at the end of 2018. "We did more a year ago than prior, but they were small". We are very open to acquisitions, ' said Porat.