Google Parent Alphabet Undershoots Q1 Estimates As Europe Fine Hits Results

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Alphabet, the parent company of Google, reported first-quarter earnings of $9.50 per share, well below Wall Street forecasts, as a European Commission fine put a dent in its results.

Not counting the $1.7 billion fine, earnings would have hit $11.90 a share. Analysts had expected $10.58.

Revenue gained nearly 17% over the same period a year ago to reach $36.34 billion.

Scrutiny has been growing on the tech giants, with louder rumbles about regulation. There has been pressure from conservative politicians about the perceived bias of search algorithms and a growing sensitivity to how data is used. A bright spotlight is also shining on YouTube, the rapaciously expanding video platforms that has attracted controversy for allowing objectionable content to circulate online. During the recent New Zealand massacre, videos of the attacks remained viewable on YouTube for several hours, though authorities in some parts of the world have also prosecuted those who viewed it.

YouTube will once again be the anchor tenant during the annual NewFronts presentations this week in New York. Its “Brandcast” event is slated for Thursday evening at Radio City Music Hall.

European regulators, in announcing the fine in March, said Google “abused its market dominance by imposing a number of restrictive clauses in contracts with third-party websites which prevented Google’s rivals from placing their search adverts on these websites.”

Revenue jumped 16.7 percent to $36.34 billion, about $1 billion less than analysts had projected.

Shares in Alphabet dropped 5% in after-hours trading. They gained a point to close the regular trading day at $1,287.58 and have increased 23% in 2019 to date.

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