SAN FRANCISCO — Google’s corporate parent returned to double-digit revenue growth during last year’s final quarter, signaling the internet powerhouse has regained its footing even as it grapples with regulatory and competitive threats to its digital empire.
The results announced Tuesday by Alphabet Inc. marked the third consecutive quarter of escalating revenue growth for the Mountain View, California, company, with most of the sales coming through Google’s dominance of search and online advertising. The rebound followed an unprecedented drop in Google’s ad revenue coming out of the pandemic following nearly 20 years of uninterrupted growth.
But the money flowing from Google’s search engine and ad network are under attack in the courts, where regulators have been leveling allegations of abusive tactics that they contend is stifling innovation and competition. One case, brought by the U.S. Justice Department, went to trial last autumn, and will move to closing arguments in May.
Meanwhile, long-time rival Microsoft has been making inroads in artificial intelligence that have helped re-establish the nearly 50-year-old software maker as the world’s most valuable company, while Google has been scrambling to roll out its own versions of a technology that is expected to transform the world.
For now, though, Google’s moneymaking machine appears to be hitting on all cylinders. Alphabet’s revenue for the October-December period climbed 13% from the previous year to $86.31 billion. It marked Alphabet’s first quarter of double-digit revenue growth since the April-June 2022 period, at the tail end of the pandemic.
Alphabet earned $20.69 billion, or $1.64 per share, in its most recent quarter, a 52% increase from the same time in the previous year. The robust gain came despite a $1.2 billion charge taken to account for more than 1,000 layoffs that the company has made since the start of this year, and its plans to pare its office space as more employees spend part or all of their time working remotely.
“We remain committed to our work to durably re-engineer our cost base as we invest to support our growth opportunities,” said Ruth Porat, Alphabet’s chief investment officer.
Both the fourth-quarter revenue topped the analyst projections that steer investors. Despite that, Alphabet’s stock price still fell more than 4% in extended trading after the numbers came out.