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Google: great quarter and a shuffle at the top

Oh, and #4 on Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” list….

Yeah, and it’s in Mountain View, California, a city in which I worked TWICE!

(Not all of the “Top 100” companies are in California.)

Let’s do the shuffle first. Eric Schmidt is stepping down from his role as CEO on April 4 and will stay on as executive chairman, focusing on deals, partnerships, customers and broader business relationships, government outreach and technology thought leadership. Co-founder Larry Page, who was Google’s founding CEO, served as chief executive from 1998 to 2001. Page will again be CEO, taking charge of Google’s day-to-day operations, as well as being in charge of Google’s product development and technology strategy. Sergey Brin, Google’s other co-founder, will continue to work on Google’s new projects, but will no longer serve as a company president. The announced goal of the change is to simplify the management structure at the top and speed up decision making.

As for the quarter, Google is UP from last year’s performance and “Beat the Street,” surpassing Wall Street analysts’ forecasts.

Net income in the fourth quarter was up 29% from a year ago, to $2.5 billion. Results included a one-time charge of $0.94 per share. Without the charges, Google earned $8.75 per share, beating analysts’ estimates of $8.10 per share. As for ads, paid clicks rose 18% and cost per click grew 5% over last year.

Sales grew 26% to $8.4 billion. Excluding “traffic acquisition costs” (advertising sales the Google shares with partners), Google reported revenues of $6.3 billion, topping forecasts of $6.1 billion.

YouTube’s revenues more than doubled in 2010.

Google added more than 1,000 employees during the quarter and now employs 24,400 people.

(Google – thanks for hiring! Somebody has to….)

-Bill at

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