Google revenue up, but profits down

Google has announced its Q4 results on Thursday adding to results already announced by Microsoft, Nokia, eBay, Sony and Apple this week.

The results show that the advertising search giant is still mainly unaffected by the credit crunch with revenues up by 18% over the same quarter in 2007 and up 3% up on third quarter revenues in 2008.

However net income was down 68% to $382 million compared to $1.2 billion a year ago after the company had to write down a $1 billion impairment charge related Google’s ownership stakes in AOL and Clearwire.

Revenues from outside of the United States totalled $2.86 billion, representing 50% of total revenues in the fourth quarter of 2008 with revenues from the United Kingdom totalling $685 million.

With $15.85 billion in the bank and 20,222 full-time employees the company has however performed to the market's expectations if you take out the one time write down.

Commentators believe the figures that will tell a more precise picture will be the Q1 figures due out in April. They will likely show how the company faired out of the Christmas shopping period.

Google also announced that it will be offering its employees a stock options rescue package in an attempt to entice them to stay with the company. According to some reports, almost 85% of employees are thought to have stock "under water", a term used when the options value of the share is higher than the actual value of the share. The employee rescue package will, Google say, cost the company a further $460 million.