Google Doubles 2Q Profits

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Google's second-quarter profit more than doubled, maintaining the Internet search leader's penchant for topping analysts' high expectations and further underscoring the advantage the company has built over its chief rivals.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based company said Thursday that it earned $721.1 million, or $2.33 per share, during the three months ended in June. That compared with net income of $342.8 million, or $1.19 per share, at the same time last year.

Also Thursday, Microsoft Corp. said that fiscal fourth quarter earnings fell nearly 24 percent in part because of a one-time legal charge but beat Wall Street estimates.

For the three months ended June 30, the software maker reported earnings of $2.83 billion, or 28 cents per share, compared with $3.7 billion, or 34 cents per share in the same period last year.

Excluding expenses for employee stock compensation and several other one-time items, Google said it would have earned $2.49 per share—soaring past the average estimate of $2.22 per share among 32 analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial.

It marks the seventh time in eight quarter as a public company that Google has surprised Wall Street with higher-than-expected earnings.

Revenue for the period totaled $2.46 billion, a 77 percent increase from $1.38 billion a year ago.

Google's revenue fell to $1.67 billion after subtracting commissions paid to its partners in the Internet's largest advertising network. That figure also topped the average analyst estimate, according to Thomson Financial.

The results came out after the stock market closed Thursday. Google Inc.'s shares fell $11.88 to close at $387.12 on the Nasdaq Stock Market, then regained $5.42, or 1.4 percent, in extended trading.

Google's showing contrasted sharply with the second-quarter performance of Yahoo Inc., which disappointed investors earlier this week by merely matching Wall Street's consensus estimate and then exacerbated the letdown by postponing a key piece of advertising technology aimed at boosting its revenue.

Meanwhile, Google seems determined on widening its already formidable lead in Internet search—a field that it has dominated so thoroughly in recent years that the company's name has become accepted as an English verb for looking things up.

"Our strong performance results from our clear focus on increasing the quality of user experience, particularly in search and ads," Google CEO Eric Schmidt said.

Meanwhile, Microsoft's revenue for the quarter was $11.8 billion, a 16 percent increase over $10.16 billion in the same period a year earlier.

The results included one-time legal charges of 3 cents per share. In the year-earlier period, Microsoft had legal expenses of 5 cents per share plus a tax benefits of 9 cents per share.

Without the charge, Redmond-based Microsoft would have earned 31 cents per share in the most recent quarter.

Analysts polled by Thomson First Call were expecting earnings for the three-month period of 30 cents per share on revenue of $11.63 billion.

Those expectations were reduced after Microsoft said in April that it expected earnings for the fiscal fourth quarter and 2007 fiscal year to be lower than many had previously expected. The company blamed the change on a decision to significantly boost research and development spending in areas where it is not dominant.

Microsoft shares fell 55 cents or 2.4 percent to close at $22.85 Thursday on the Nasdaq Stock Market ahead of the income report. In after-hours trading, the stock gained an additional 6.1 percent, or $1.39.