Google carries Alphabet to strong profits, as firm goes on …


Google carries Alphabet to strong profits, as firm goes on defensive over harassment sackings

Google carries Alphabet to strong profits, as firm goes on defensive over harassment sackings

IT MAY TECHNICALLY be a subsidiary of Alphabet, but nobody should be surprised to hear that Google is still the money-maker of the business. It’s like adding up a household income comprised of a paperboy, a lemonade stand owner, a part-time bookshop assistant and a global investment banker.

To that end, the results of Alphabet’s Q3 earnings are both impressive and heavily reliant on Google. Profits arrived at $9.19bn, or $13.06 a share, which was a pleasant surprise given analysts were expecting something closer to $10.42. Despite this, the company still missed its own revenue projections, leading to a 4 per cent drop in company stock.

In all, revenue hit $33.74bn, up from $27.77bn year-on-year in the same period. Of that, Google supplied $24.05bn, with a further $4.9bn hauled in from non-Google sites with AdSense.

If you’re hoping for a more detailed breakdown of Google’s money, you’re out of luck as the company doesn’t offer specifics – though there are a handful of clues. YouTube, for example, is a multibillion-dollar business, and we know the Play Store rakes in a healthy income from Android users around the world. Somewhere in that mix too are Pixel devices and smart speakers. 

Experimental companies – Alphabet’s ‘other bets’ – continued to be a drain on profits, making losses of $727m, up from $650m in Q2. Revenue from them continued to rise, however, hitting $146m, up from $117m.

Not OK, Google

Elsewhere, Google was on the back foot over its past treatment of those accused of sexual harassment. A New York Times exposé on former employee and Essential Phone designer Andy Rubin claims the company resisted the option to fire him without severance after “credible” sexual misconduct charges against him. Instead, the company reportedly parted ways with Rubin with warm words and a $90m exit package. The final $2m installment is due next month.

Responding to the report, CEO Sundar Pichai and VP of People Operations Eileen Naughton sent a company memo addressing the report, without denying its accuracy.  

“Today’s story in the New York Times was difficult to read,” the note begins, before explaining that the company has changed in the way it handles such allegations.

“In recent years, we’ve made a number of changes, including taking an increasingly hard line on inappropriate conduct by people in positions of authority: in the last two years, 48 people have been terminated for sexual harassment, including 13 who were senior managers and above. None of these individuals received an exit package.”

The note explains that since 2015 the company has published an annual investigations report to “provide transparency about these types of investigations at Google,” as well as confidential channels to report inappropriate behaviour.

“We are committed to ensuring that Google is a workplace where you can feel safe to do your best work, and where there are serious consequences for anyone who behaves inappropriately,” the note ends. µ

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