Alphabet Trounces Profit Estimates As Google Reins In Costs

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Alphabet trounces profit estimates as Google reins in costs

Alphabet’s $32.66 billion in second-quarter revenue, 86 percent of which came from Google’s advertising business.

Alphabet Inc on Monday reported that expenses from its Google search business grew more slowly in the second quarter while revenue rose more steeply than analysts had anticipated, boosting profit above Wall Street targets and pushing shares up 3.6 percent after hours.

Google’s dominance in online advertising has been challenged this year by the antitrust battle over its Android mobile software, which led to a $5 billion fine for the quarter, and other regulatory actions, including new European privacy rules.

Government pressure to improve moderation of user-created content has forced Google to hire more analysts. YouTube, a Google-owned streaming service, has increased spending on video content to keep consumers from shifting to offerings from Netflix Inc and expanding media conglomerates such as AT&T Inc.

But those issues have yet to halt Alphabet, which has grown quarterly revenue at least 20 percent year-over-year for two straight years.

“There was never a question about Google’s dominance of a buoyant digital ads market,” said analyst Richard Kramer of Arete Research.

Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai told analysts that investments in artificial intelligence software meant to better predict where to place ads are making its services more attractive to advertisers. The company is selling more ads as its YouTube video service and Google search grow globally, he said.

But Alphabet’s outlook is tempered by cost concerns, and Amazon.com Inc’s encroachment into advertising has threatened Google’s lucrative deals with media companies and advertisers.

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