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GOOG Down With Tech
Markets are up marginally in early trading on decent economic data including housing starts, initial jobless claims (last week) as well as Core PPI figures. Shares of GOOG are down with the rest of tech. Investors continue to look for Android momentum in the smartphone and tablet markets worldwide; Motorola acquisition approval and integration; regaining ground in China; resurgence of Google TV and continued growth of YouTube; expansion of social network Google+; and progress in other newer initiatives (location-based services, mapping, gaming, daily deals, Google Wallet, Google Music, etc.). The stock trades at approximately 11.8x Enterprise Value / EBIT.
In Terms Of Sales, Android Leads With Over 50% Market Share (Gartner)
Android charges on as Google’s mobile OS reached a market share of more than 50% in the last quarter of 2011. With 75.9 million Android devices flying off the shelf during the holidays meant a share of 50.9%, with iOS coming in second with 23.8% (35.4 million) followed by Symbian with an 11.7% (17.4 million) and BlackBerry fourth at 8.8% (13.1 million). Apple became the third-largest mobile phone vendor in the world and the world’s top smartphone vendor.
Regulators Approve Motorola, But Scrutiny Is Far From Over (Ars Technica)
U.S. and European authorities went out of their way to warn Google not to abuse the patents, with the Justice Department comparing Google’s patent statements unfavorably with what Justice views as more responsible statements made by Apple and Microsoft. In effect, both regulators said there wasn’t enough evidence to prevent Google’s acquisition of Motorola, but warned that Google’s future actions could invite antitrust scrutiny. China’s not so happy with the deal either.
Google Continues To Go After Hollywood, Much To The Chagrin Of Investors (WSJ)
Google is taking a hands-on approach to revamping the Hollywood system. The company is spending more time and money on the creators of YouTube videos, in a bid to draw interest from big-spending advertisers with a better-looking product. An example of Google’s ambitions: studios. A studio facility with amenities such as green screens for higher-quality video production will be moved from Next New Networks, which Google acquired last year, into Google’s New York offices. So much for Larry’s focus.
Google Lowers AdMob Fees To Encourage Spending (Financial Times)
Following Apple’s revamp of iAd, Google removed the $0.10 minimum bid and targeting fees for “cost per click” ads on its AdMob platform. The move is an attempt to encourage more marketers and application developers to use their technologies, ahead of Facebook and LinkedIn’s expected entries to the market as mobile advertising is quickly emerging as a battleground between the technology giants as a growing portion of users’ shift to smartphones and tablets over PCs.
George Soros’s Fund Bought Up Shares Of Google In The Fourth Quarter (BusinessWeek)
Soros Fund Management added shares of Google in the fourth quarter, leading purchases of technology stocks by asset managers in the quarter. The fund bought nearly 259K shares of Google valued at $167.9 million as of the end of the year. Overall, Soros increased holdings of information technology stocks by 12% in the quarter. Hedge funds Lone Pine Capital, Maverick Capital and Lansdowne Partners also added to Google during the quarter.
Jim Cramer However Isn’t Convinced (The Street)
Google stock is soaring right back where it was before it missed earnings. Financial personality, Jim Cramer struggles over these moves because be believes things have gotten worse for Google. The company is about to close the Motorola deal, the one where they paid $12.5 billion mostly for technology, including a ton of patents that will help Android gain share. The problem is that right now Apple is pulling away. Nor does he like the Google TV story. It’s not a compelling needle mover. He wants to see higher ad rates and monetization of mobile. Don’t we all.