Originally published: January 25, 2012
Last updated: January 25, 2012 - 8:55pm
Google, which revolutionized Internet searches with an easy-to-use website, has itself become an increasingly tricky business to grasp. That issue leapt to the fore last week when the company stunned Wall Street by missing financial expectations for the fourth quarter -- sending its stock into a tailspin and triggering a flurry of questions over what went askew.
Analysts say Google is simply putting its fingers in too many pies. Forays into television, Android mobile phones and music sales in the past two to three years have left the investment community straining to recognize the company. A surprise drop in Google's search advertising rates in the fourth quarter raised questions about how its rapidly expanding mobile business was affecting its main money-making machine. With investors still uneasy about Google's proposed $12.5 billion acquisition of smartphone maker Motorola, the earnings disappointment underscored a big challenge facing Chief Executive Larry Page as he positions the company for new growth opportunities.