Alphabet, Google’s parent company, has announced its Q4 earnings and the results of those have seen the company’s stock price rise in after hours trading, so much so that it has now eclipsed Apple as the world’s most valuable company. Alphabet’s market capitalization was $517.6 billion compared to Apple’s $539.7 billion at close today, and while the price is still fluctuating after hours, Alphabet’s market cap will be over $540 billion tomorrow if it continues its current pricing.
Apple has held the title of the world’s most valuable company ever since overtaking Exxon Mobil in 2011. There has been a strong suspicion that its crown may be at risk for some time now though, with Alphabet expected to become the next company to sit at the top of a very expensive list. None of this is to say that Apple is in decline or, as many internet commentators like to proclaim, doomed, but more a sign of just how strong Google and its parent Alphabet have become of late.
As for those quarterly figures, the Alphabet reported revenue of $21.3 billion, up 18%. Net income for Q4 2015 was $3.97 billion, with the company reporting that advertising revenue accounted for $16.3 billion.
While many of Google’s services don’t directly cost users a penny, money does still pour into Google. One good example is Gmail, Google’s free email service. Google CEO Sundar Pichai noted during Alphabet’s earnings call that Gmail now has over 1 billion active monthly users, with those users providing data that Google in turn can use elsewhere. Google is an advertising and data company these days, rather than one dedicated to search, and services such as Gmail are very important to it.
Whether Alphabet does actually take Apple’s crown as the planet’s most valuable company remains to be seen, and we will have to wait for trading to begin once again on Tuesday before that is a question that will get answered. No matter the outcome though, it’s fair to say that Alphabet, and indeed Google, are doing pretty well for themselves.