Investors are reeling after Alphabet posted a 17% year-over-year gain in revenues, its slowest growth in 3 years. In its earnings report for the first quarter, the company underlined monetization challenges across Google and YouTube alongside the latest large fine it has had to deal with from the European Commission. In the end, the company achieved operating income of $6.6 billion, down 13%.
Chief financial officer Ruth Porat announced that the company has been pouring money into content acquisition for YouTube and YouTube Premium. At the same time, Alphabet has been reforming its ad products which has left creators and buyers scrambling to adjust.
Alphabet has also accounted for a $1.7 billion fine issued by the European Commission, which came out of a competition ruling against its AdSense agreements regarding custom search engines on partner sites.
Other hurdles include the continuing shift in traffic from desktop to mobile resulting in higher acquisition costs — paid clicks declined 9% from last quarter — and poor Pixel smartphone sales due to intense competition in the industry, Porat said.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced that roughly 70% of entry-level Android devices are launching with Android Go, the lightweight version of the OS designed for RAM allocations of 1GB or less. Meanwhile, the Google Play Store saw a 50% jump in first-time buyers from this time in 2018.
The larger economy may help lift Alphabet's future performance as investors expect the risk of recession in the United States to decrease. The company has also been on a stocking and hiring frenzy for its growing cloud business — employee count has jumped nearly 22% from a year ago to more than 103,000. Expenses rose 26% to $29.7 billion.
The Wall Street consensus forecast for first quarter revenue was $37.3 billion, Reuters reported. As of 3:40p.m. PDT, Alphabet Class A (GOOGL) and Class C (GOOG) stock are both down roughly 7.2%.