Google, Inc has reported modestly rising quarterly earnings for the second quarter of 2014. The tech giant earned $3.4 billion, or $4.99 per share, in the April-to-June period. The figures represent a slight increase on the $3.2 billion, or $4.77 per share, reported in the second quarter of last year.
“We are moving forward with great product momentum and are excited to continue providing amazing user experiences, with a view to the long term,” said Google CFO Patrick Pichette. Hardware sales were better than expected at $3.3 billion, while analysts have warned that continually-declining ad sales remain a strong concern for the firm.
Employee stock compensation was blamed for adjusted earnings that fell below analyst predictions for the third time in three quarters. Google has been on a hiring spree this year, adding another 4,300 employees to its wage bill. It now employs 52,000 people, which is still less than half that of tech rival Microsoft, which this week announced the culling of 18,000 jobs from its 127,000-strong workforce.
However one employee leaving the firm is chief business officer Nikesh Arora, who is stepping down after ten years in the role. He will become vice president of Japan’s SoftBank, in a move that has surprised industry insiders. Google CEO Larry Page was full of praise for his former charge, calling Arora a “tremendous leader, adviser and mentor to many Googlers – including me.
“We have learned a lot together, and had a lot of fun along the way,” added Page. Arora’s departure comes just days after Google added former Ford chief Alan Mulally to its board of directors.
“I expect to see a lot of movement at executive level at Google,” said Rob Enderle, principle analyst at the Enderle Group. “Arora would have wanted more influence, but he wasn’t rich enough to start up something new. It’s like an incubator, Google.”
This year has seen the Silicon Valley-headquartered company ramp up its pursuit of new technologies, piling investment into wearable browsers, driverless cars and robots. This quarter’s report “was expected,” added Enderle. “It shows that they’re focused on the future. It’s reasonable; nothing to run to the hills for.”
Enderle added that Google should be “very careful” about taking on government institutions in the future. The firm has been embroiled in a court case with the EU over privacy for several months.