Google Investor: Android Continues To Gain Share; Quickly Catching Up To Windows

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GOOG Shares Close Up With The NASDAQ

smartphone chart

Google shares were up with the rest of tech yesterday, closing Monday’s trading session at $571.01 (18x 2010 EPS and 19x Enterprise Value / EBIT). Upcoming catalysts include the March quarter earnings release on April 15th; updates on changes to paid search results; Android adoption; and benchmarks surrounding newer initiatives (Wave, Chrome, Base, broadband network, etc.).

Android Mobile Platform Gaining Share At The Expense Of Microsoft (TBI Research)

A chart released by Rory Maher at TBI Research illustrates the rise in Google’s Android platform. In the past five months alone, the dark horse has gained considerable share of the US Smartphone OS market while Apple’s iPhone has floundered (hovering around the 25% mark) and Microsoft’s Windows Mobile suffered a pretty sharp drop (from about 20% to 15% share). If this continues, Android will quickly surpass Microsoft and will be bumping up against Apple before long.

Let The Google Earnings Previews (Best Guesses) Commence!
Bank Of America Merrill Lynch and Thomas Weisel Partners are the first to issue their thoughts on the coming Q110 earnings announcement:

  • Jordan Rohan at Thomas Weisel believes that Google will report a solid first quarter based on favourable search channel checks. His checks indicate Google should see improvement in revenue per search (RPS) on Google-owned pages and the volume of paid clicks during the quarter. As a result, Rohan is increasing his estimates to flat sequential revenue growth for the quarter and EPS of $6.70. He reiterates his Overweight rating and “would add to positions under $600.”
  • Justin Post at Bank of America Merrill Lynch maintained his Buy rating as he believes “Google remains an attractive macro-economic recovery play.” He anticipates upside to his estimates because of “incremental advertiser demand for traffic” (read: inventory is tightening and advertisers are paying a little more for it).  In addition, Post believes increased spending from travel and finance advertisers could drive further revenue growth throughout the year.  He believes the stock is reasonably priced based on price-to-earnings and free cash flow valuation metrics.

Google Buzz Getting Overhauled Today, Still Not Making A Dent In Twitter (Business Insider)
Google Buzz is finally getting a complete privacy reboot today after the initial PR disaster (after a lot of private info was made available to the public). Google is rolling out a confirmation screen to users. Those who signed up before the various tweaks and bug fixes were made will only have to share the information they want to. Google Buzz still hasn’t made much of a dent in Twitter’s armour. But then again, it’s only two months old.

YouTube More Important Than Gmail For Google (Trefis)
Google is primarily driven by search advertising. But what about the other businesses? Online financial and analytics tool Trefis suggests that YouTube is 10 times more important to the stock than Gmail.  According to Trefis, YouTube constitutes about 3% of Google’s stock while Gmail only accounts for about 0.3%. Play around with the YouTube “Top Forecasts” (variables) and see how that impacts Google’s stock price target.

AdMob To Unveil iPad Product In A Few Weeks, Gears Up For Mobile Ad Battle (Business Insider)
Mobile ad network AdMob (which is in the process of being purchased by Google) tells Dan Frommer at Business Insider that its first advertising product for the iPad should be available in the next two weeks. Jason Spero, AdMob marketing executive, says the battlefield will be about Flash support and “after-the-click” activity. Again, Google (if approved for the acquisition) will go head-to-head with Apple which is rumoured to be showing Madison Avenue it’s proprietary mobile ad platform, iAd, today.

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