Wall Street is about to ask Google some tough questions about its big bets

Tony Fadell
Nest CEO Tony Fadell Kimberly White / Getty

Google parent company Alphabet will report its Q1 earnings Thursday afternoon and its moonshots will be in the spotlight.

Although Alphabet makes 99% of its revenue from Google, mostly from its gargantuan ads businesses, it has been the ‘Other Bets’ that have attracted the most media attention in recent months.

Two of its divisions — smart home company Nest and life sciences business Verily — have been subject to a handful of critical reports each, targeting their leadership and, in Nest’s case, product issues.

Meanwhile, its hardware lab X is dissolving its robotics division, while the company tries to sell the military robotics unit, Boston Dynamics. And its Advanced Technology and Products group boss, Regina Dugan, just jumped ship to arch-rival Facebook.

Despite the harsh publicity and internal feelings of uneasiness for Googlers wrought by some of these reports, Nest CEO Tony Fadell perfectly summed up Wall Street’s bright side in The Information’s in-depth report on the company: The era of “fiscal discipline has descended upon everything.”

Discipline, of course, has long been one of investors’ favourite words.

Continued Drag

Last quarter, the company reported that it had lost $3.6 billion on moonshot projects that comprise its “Other Bets” businesses in 2015. Since Q4 was the first time that Alphabet had broken out the category, it didn’t post its quarterly revenues or operating losses, but we’ll get that insight this time around.

Of course, many of the Other Bets businesses are still in the early stages and don’t yet generate any revenue. Although Nest, Fibre and Verily are all currently in the revenue-generating stage.

Other Bets are “likely to continue dragging on Alphabet,” write analysts from Pivotal Research, “Although at least their scale is relatively minimal overall.”

In non-moonshot news, the European Commission just slammed Google with an antitrust complaint over its mobile operating system Android, another topic that might come up in the Q&A portion of Alphabet’s earnings call, along with other hot topics like Google’s enterprise cloud product, its app store Play, and YouTube.

Analysts are expecting Q1 revenue of $20.37 billion and earnings-per-share of $7.95, according to Yahoo Finance.

NOW WATCH: Stop making the biggest mistake when it comes to texting etiquette