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Google Inc. (GOOG)

Q4 2009 Earnings Call

January 21, 2010 6:00 pm ET


Eric Schmidt - Chief Executive Officer

Patrick Pichette - Chief Financial Officer

Nikesh Arora - President, Global Sales Operations and Business Development


Samit Sinha – JMP Securities

Aaron Kessler – Kaufman Bros.

Ross Sandler – RBC Capital Markets

George Askew – Stifel Nicolaus

Scott Davis – JP Morgan

Jim Friedland – Cowen & Company

Heath Terry - FBR

Richard Fetyko – Merriman Curhan Ford

Mary Meeker – Morgan Stanley

William Morrison – Think Equity

James Mitchell - Goldman Sachs

Mark Mahaney – Citigroup

Benjamin Schachter - Broadpoint Am Tech

Justin Post – BAS-ML

Brian Pitz – UBS

Spencer Wang - Credit Suisse



Good day and welcome everyone to the Google Inc. conference call. This call is being recorded. At this time, I would like to turn the call over to Maria Shim, Senior Manager of Investor Relations. Please go ahead, Ma’am.

Maria Shim

Good afternoon everyone and welcome to Google's fourth quarter and fiscal year 2009 earnings follow up conference call. With us are Patrick Pichette, Chief Financial Officer, and Jonathan Rosenberg, Senior Vice President of Product Management and Nikesh Arora is also going to be joining us for the first half hour so if you have specific sales, geographic vertical questions for him please direct them to him in the first half hour of the call. After we cover a few housekeeping items we will begin taking questions.

This call is being Web cast from our Investor Relations Web site located at Please refer to our Web site for important information, including our earnings press release and related slide deck. A replay of this call will also be available on our Web site in a few hours. Please note that we routinely post important information on our Investor Relations Web site located at and we encourage you to make use of that resource. As a reminder, the purpose of this follow-up call is to give participants the opportunity to ask more detailed financial and product questions in an efficient and Reg FD-compliant manner.

Let me now quickly cover the safe harbor. Some of the statements we make today may be considered forward-looking and these statements involve a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially. Please note that these forward-looking statements reflect our opinions only as of the date of this presentation and we undertake no obligation to revise or publicly release the results of any revision to these forward-looking statements in light of new information or future events.

Please refer to our SEC filings, including our annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2008, as well as our earnings press release for a more detailed description of the risk factors that may affect our results. Copies can be obtained from the SEC or by visiting the Investor Relations section of our Web site.

Also, please note that certain financial measures we use on this call, such as operating profit and operating margin, are expressed on a non-GAAP basis and have been adjusted to exclude charges relating to stock-based compensation. We have also adjusted our net cash provided by operating activities to remove capital expenditures, which we refer to as free cash flow. Our GAAP results and GAAP to non-GAAP reconciliation can be found in our earnings press release.

With that, we are ready to take your questions. Operator?

Question and Answer Session


(Operator Instructions) The first question comes from the line of Samit Sinha – JMP Securities.

Samit Sinha – JMP Securities

I just wanted to get some more details about CPC growth sequentially. Are there any specific circumstances in the past quarter about how emerging markets where query growth has been strong but CPCs have been lower. Can you just quantify that impact? Secondly, on the CPC question itself anything specifically in Europe regarding to where trademark bidding has slowed down or the efficacy of that has slowed down and maybe pulled down CPC with it?

Jonathan Rosenberg

I will let Nikesh comment on any specific issues related to Europe or any dynamics he is seeing there on the trademark issues. The specific issues which we have traditionally talked about a lot, you are looking at average CPC which obviously is a blended number and it is impacted by some of the things you suggested such as the relative growth in maturing markets versus established markets had some anomalous dynamics when you look at this quarter which I would highlight. First and foremost the FX movement. The dollar was weaker in Q4 2009 when you compare to Q4 2008 so that causes the non-US clicks to have higher CPCs when reported in dollar terms. I think the other thing you may not see is there is an important mix effect going on. We made some quality improvements on the AFC network and basically that had the effect of reducing the total clicks in the AFC network relative to what it would have otherwise been.

So we had a higher proportion of clicks coming therefore coming from and from AFS and that is a mix shift that caused the blended average of CPC the way you are seeing it to otherwise rise. So those are the two things I think are more different in this quarter than in the past. Otherwise I don’t have any more insight.


The next question comes from the line of Aaron Kessler – Kaufman Bros.

Aaron Kessler – Kaufman Bros.

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