Google reports fourth-quarter profit jumped 29%; Co-founder Larry Page to take over as CEO from April
By Finfacts Team
Jan 21, 2011 - 6:09 AM

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From left to right - Google's top management, Eric Schmidt, Larry Page and Sergey Brin in a self-driving car, Thursday, Jan 20, 2011, at Google's headquarters, Mountain View California.

Google reports fourth-quarter profit jumped 29%; Co-founder Larry Page to take over as CEO from April

Google on Thursday reported fourth-quarter profit jumped 29% to $2.54bn, or $7.81 a share, up from $1.97bn, or $6.13 a share, a year earlier. Revenue rose 26% to $8.44bn. Google also announced that co-founder Larry Page will take over as CEO from April.

“Our strong performance has been driven by a rapidly growing digital economy, continuous product innovation that benefits both users and advertisers, and by the extraordinary momentum of our newer businesses, such as display and mobile,” Chairman and CEO Eric Schmidt said in a statement.

Jonathan Rosenberg, senior vice president of product management said on a conference call that revenue from YouTube doubled this year, while the number of searches from the mobile phone system Android rose tenfold with 300,000 phones activated each day.

Google does not provide a breakdown of ad revenue, but eMarketer, a research firm, said that Google accounted for 13.4% of display ad revenue in the United States last year, up from 4.7% in 2009. Meanwhile, Yahoo, the market leader, lost share, eMarketer said.

 Rosenberg said that this year the company will focus on products that enable people to access local information on mobile phones, as well as commerce, adding that the two are tied together.

“They key to unlocking mobile commerce was to make it easier for people to both search and then consummate the transaction on the mobile device,” he said.

“As smartphones become ubiquitous and local businesses put their inventory online, I think this will be the year that smartphones,” change the way commerce is done, he added.

Starting from April 4, Larry Page (38), Google co-founder, will take charge of Google's day-to-day operations as Chief Executive Officer; Sergey Brin, Google co-founder, will devote his energy to strategic projects, in particular working on new products.  Eric Schmidt (55) will assume the role of Executive Chairman, focusing externally on deals, partnerships, customers and broader business relationships, government outreach and technology thought leadership--all of which are increasingly important given Google's global reach. Internally, he will continue to act as an advisor to Larry and Sergey.

Commenting on these changes, Schmidt said: "We've been talking about how best to simplify our management structure and speed up decision making for a long time. By clarifying our individual roles we'll create clearer responsibility and accountability at the top of the company. In my clear opinion, Larry is ready to lead and I'm excited about working with both him and Sergey for a long time to come."

"I have learned a ton from him over the years," Page said of Schmidt in a conference call. "I cannot be more excited about moving us forward, and we are really only at the beginning."

Results detail

Perspectives on the management changes, with Martin Pyykkonen, Wedge Partners and Heath Terry, Canaccord:

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