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Google makes ludicrous amounts of money from advertising and cloud sales

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Alphabet, as it’s technically called, recorded a measly $75.3 billion in revenue for Q4 2021 – a 32% year on year jump.

Net income came in at $20.6 billion for the period, up from $15.2 billon the year before, which was wasn’t exactly pocket change in the first place.

Google benefitted from the ever-growing trend towards cloud computing, raking in in $5.5 billion revenue for the quarter, up from $3.8 billion the year before. This follows the trend of Microsoft, who last week posted its quarterly financials which showed Intelligent Cloud revenue clocked in a $18.3 billion, an increase of 26%.

“Our fourth quarter revenues of $75 billion, up 32% year over year, reflected broad-based strength in advertiser spend and strong consumer online activity, as well as substantial ongoing revenue growth from Google Cloud,” Ruth Porat, CFO of Alphabet and Google. “Our investments have helped us drive this growth by delivering the services that people, our partners and businesses need, and we continue to invest in long-term opportunities.”

Sundar Pichai, CEO of Alphabet and Google added: “Our deep investment in AI technologies continues to drive extraordinary and helpful experiences for people and businesses, across our most important products. Q4 saw ongoing strong growth in our advertising business, which helped millions of businesses thrive and find new customers, a quarterly sales record for our Pixel phones despite supply constraints, and our Cloud business continuing to grow strongly.”

As Pichai notes, the most substantial jump for Alphabet comes from Its advertising revenues, which clocked in at $61.2 billion – up from $46.1 billion last year. By this point even a layman would not be surprised that Google and other big tech players are getting extremely rich through gathering user data and monetising it through advertising, for example, but financials like these reveal the astonishing amount of money it is capable of raking in by doing so in the space of just a few months.

And it’s not being shy spending some of the warchest its generated – last week it announced it will invest $1billion into Indian telecoms giant Airtel, which is just the latest in a some serious spending it is doing in the region, presumably to bolster its strategic interests there.

While the shareholders, investors, and anybody else that stands to see even a sliver of this huge pile of cash could hardly hope for anything more from a set of fiscal results, how it handles data and how it uses its influence is negatively drawing the attention of regulators and lawyers in the US, the UK and in the EU.

In November 2021 a €2.42 billion fine imposed  by the EU on Google for rigging shopping search results in favour of its own service was upheld. It took four and a half years to get it through the courts.

And this month, Washington DC Attorney General Karl Racine sued Google in coordination with similar action from three other US attorneys general from Texas, Indiana and Washington state in what is described as ‘a bipartisan, coordinated effort to hold Google accountable for misleading and violating the privacy of its users.’ These are only two of the most recent examples of government action against Google, and it’s a wider trend that effects its main rivals as well.

What’s generally asserted is that a few massive Silicon Valley firms are now in a position of such extreme dominance in areas of the digital economy and just modern life in general, that it has led or can lead to shutting out competition and encroaching on the privacy of citizens.

In April 2021 The US House of Representatives approved a report that recommends a raft of legal measures designed to curb the power of Big Tech. “Amazon, Apple, Google, and Facebook each hold monopoly power over significant sectors of our economy. This monopoly moment must end,” said House Antitrust Subcommittee Chairman David Cicilline.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler added: “Today’s digital markets are highly concentrated. The largest companies have morphed from being innovative startups into powerful gatekeepers, not unlike the railroad and telephone monopolists of the past.”

Whether you are in favour of increasing government regulation/legal action towards firms like Google or not, the fact it is able to generate $75.3 billion revenue in a single quarter goes someway to adding weight to this indictment.

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One comment

  1. Avatar Rodolfo Di Muro 02/02/2022 @ 2:39 pm

    The issue is not to “This monopoly moment must end” but in having specific rules on the ICT that is completely missed today. Not having rules in a IT world that is regarding as complex, is leaving the people/users to be abused to have difficult access with ridiculous system and spending hours for using their devices, a forced system reboot just as they like to filter and monitor more information and get access to user behaviour. Is this not invasion of privacy? No one is shouting out!! Amazing wold, amazing people!

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