After peaking in July, Google shares have fallen back to just above where they were trading early a year ago. Google is facing new pressure in digital advertising from Amazon and other players and has dropped its price per click - the amount it charges advertisers - to stay competitive.
But the deeper worry is that despite the many things that Google and other companies beneath the Alphabet aegis do, it remains, at heart, a display advertising business. That figure barely beat the estimate of $6.43 billion.
That's a 80 percent increase over its capital expenditures in the fourth quarter of a year ago.
Cloud, hardware and media services have seen $6.4bn in revenues, while "other bets" - autonomous vehicles, fibre optic and healthcare, raked in 154m in revenue.
Facebook Inc's better-then-expected fourth-quarter results last week had lifted expectations for Alphabet as they suggested that concerns about a global economic slowdown may be overblown. The corporation reported $7 billion in expenditures, more than the projected $5.63 billion. The stock has fallen in United States after hours trading after revealing that it spent more than expected on its hardware division of Pixel smartphones and cloud technology. These declines raised alarm bells among investors concerned that Google's pricing power for ads continues to erode. Alphabet's profits were thinner because of its investment in cloud services.
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However, Turkey's Islamist president, Recep Erdogan, called the demand "a very serious mistake" and flatly told U.S. Senators on Monday headed off a filibuster on a 72-24 vote, setting up final passage later this week.
"With great opportunities ahead, we continue to make focused investments in the talent and infrastructure needed to bring exceptional products and experiences to our users, advertisers and partners around the globe", said Alphabet chief financial officer Ruth Porat. Among the reasons for higher expenses that weighed on profits: higher content licensing costs for YouTube, more spending on data center operations and research and development, including more hiring of cloud engineers, and heavier marketing in the holiday season.
Strip out that loss and subtract the per-share cash from the stock price, and Alphabet trades for about 19 times estimated 2019 earnings.
While Alphabet didn't provide a dividend forecast, Porat noted that there could be a pivotal acquisition in the future to bolster its booming cloud business that increased by 31%. It was the lowest growth rate in the company's short history, and the company has many challenges to keep growing, but it turns out that Facebook keeps making bank because its ads work and the company is willing to plaster them all over its internet hangouts.