Remember back in 2011, when Google spent $12.5 billion to buy Motorola, and we spent a lot of time wondering what Larry Page was going to do in the phone business, and maybe the set-top box business, too?
All over now.
Or basically over: Page is hanging on to the patents he acquired three years ago, but later this year Google will sell off its handset business to Lenovo. And it has already disposed of its cable box business.
Which means that when Google reports its first-quarter earnings today, it will describe Motorola as a “discontinued operation.” And that should make Google’s numbers, which have sometimes confused folks in the last few years, easier to parse.
But to be clear: The numbers investors will care about today will be the ones that describe “core Google” — the Google that still makes almost all of its money selling search ads. Analysts expect that business to generate around $12.3 billion in net revenue and about $6.30 a share in earnings.
As always, it sure would be interesting if Google executives spent time on the call discussing stuff beyond search, which is a cash machine that shows almost no weakness (there has been some discussion about what mobile means for search, but it really doesn’t appear to be slowing Google down).
For instance, YouTube has a new boss, who is taking pains to tell advertisers that she’d really like to work with them, so it would be great to hear Susan Wojcicki tell investors what that could mean for the video site down the road.
Or maybe an update on Google Fiber: Does Google really plan on wiring most of the country for super-high speed broadband? Are they really headed to New York?
And, as always, you should set your expectations to low, because the Google guys have shown little interest in talking about anything that might be that detailed. Still, we’ll be listening. Check back after markets close later today for our coverage.
In the meantime, here’s RBC analyst Mark Mahaney’s quarterly cheat sheet: