Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOO)

Larry Page
CEO
Market Cap (AUD): Coming Soon
Sector: Technology
Last Trade (AUD): 0 +0 (+0%)
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1. About

Alphabet Inc. is a holding company that gives ambitious projects the resources, freedom, and focus to make their ideas happen — and is the parent company of Google - the world's most popular search engine[1]

 

2. Business model

The Company generates revenue primarily by delivering online advertising. The Company provides its products and services in more than 100 languages and in more than 50 countries, regions, and territories. Google operates the following business segments:

 

Division

Revenue ($’ Million)

% of Revenue

% of Profit (before Interest, Tax & Depreciation )

Sales and distribution model

Profit drivers

Google (Advertising & Other)

$55,550

92.9%

 

N/A

 Bring businesses into its advertising network through direct, remote, and online sales channels, using technology and automation with 85 offices in over 50 countries[2]

Increase in revenue of $9,511 million resulting primarily from an increase in advertising revenues generated primarily by Google websites. Also form Google Network Members’ websites and other revenues. The increase in other revenues was mainly driven by higher sales related to digital content and hardware products

 

Motorola Mobile (Hardware & Other)

 

$4,443

7.4%

 

Revenues increased $307 million from 2012 to 2013. The increase was due to a 14% increase in average

selling price (“ASP”) related to new product launches and changes in the product mix during the year 

Corporate

($168)

(.3%)

100%

N/A

N/A

[3]

 

3. Strategy

Key Priorities include:

 

   – Diversion of management time and focus from operating business to acquisition integration
      challenges

   – Deliver ads to as many users as possible (like Gmail or Search)

   – Bolster the “earn” by enhancing products, typically through data collection to improve ad targeting.

   – Defend Google and its properties against competitors that might steal usage time.

   – Strategic priorities is given to nourishing brand and client relationship

   – End to end M&A capability

   – Innovation in service offering, delivery modes and the management of organization[4]

 

4. Markets

Industry

    Industry

Revenue (2014)

    Growth rate

(annual 09-14)

Global Internet Service

 

$474 billion

10.9%

Search Engines (US)

 

$22.0 billion

7.3%

Internet Publishing and Broadcasting (US)

 

$33.0 billion

8.9%

[5]

 

5. Competition

Major competitors include:

  • Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT)
  • Yahoo (NASDAQ: YHOO)
  • Apple Computer (NASDAQ: APPL)
  • Facebook (NASDAQ: FB)[6]

 

6. History

1995   Larry Page and Sergey Brin meet at Stanford

 

1996   Larry and Sergey begin collaborating on a search engine called BackRub

 

1997   Google.com is registered as a domain on September 15, 1997

 

1998   Sun co-founder Andy Bechtolsheim writes a check for $100,000 to an entity that doesn't exist yet - a company called Google Inc. in August 1998

 

1998   Google files for incorporation in California

 

1998   Larry and Sergey hire their first employee, Craig Silverstein

 

1999   Google moves to first Mountain View location: 2400 Bayshore

 

2000   Google AdWords launches with 350 customers

 

2001   Google opened its first international office, in Tokyo

 

2003   Google acquires Pyra Labs, the creators of Blogger

 

2004   Google launches Gmail on April Fools' Day. At first invite-only, today it boasts more than 425 million users

 

2004   IPO of 19,605,052 shares of Class A common stock takes place on Wall Street. Opening price: $85 per share

 

2005   Google Maps goes live. Just two months later, Google add satellite views and directions to the product

 

2006   Google launches Google Finance, Google Translate, Google Calendar, Google English Dictionary, Google Checkout, Google Apps and Web based Doc and Spreadsheet

 

2006   Google acquires YouTube

 

2007   Google announce Android—the first open platform for mobile devices—and a collaboration with other companies in the Open Handset Alliance.

 

2008   Google Suggest (later called Autocomplete) arrives on Google.com, helping formulate queries, reduce spelling errors and reducing keystrokes.

 

2010   Google introduce the Nexus One to show what's possible on Android devices. The Nexus line of devices has since grown and now includes tablets as well as phones.

 

2011   Larry Page takes over as CEO—10 years after he last held the title. Eric Schmidt becomes executive chairman.

 

2012   Android Market becomes Google Play, a digital content store offering apps, games, books, movies, music and more.

 

2012   Google acquire Motorola Mobility

 

2014   Chromebox for meetings brings together Google+ Hangouts and Google Apps to make it simpler for any company to have high-definition video meetings.[7]

 

7. Team

Board of Directors

 

Larry Page – CEO and Co-Founder
Sergey Brin – Co-Founder and President
Eric E. Schmidt – Executive Chairman
L. John Doerr – Non-Executive Director           
Diane B. Greene – Non-Executive Director
John L. Hennessy – Non-Executive Director
Ann Mather – Non-Executive Director
Alan R. Mulally – Non-Executive Director
Paul S. Otellini – Non-Executive Director
K. Ram Shriram – Non-Executive Director
Shirley M. Tilghman – Non-Executive Director


Executive Officers

Larry Page – CEO and Co-Founder
Eric E. Schmidt – Executive Chairman
Sergey Brin – Co-Founder
David C. Drummond – Senior Vice President, Corporate Development and Chief Legal Officer
Patrick Pichette – Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer[8]

 


read more

8. Financials

Financial Year 2013 (ended 31 December):

 

Division

Revenue ($’Million)

% Change

Profit (before Interest, Tax & Depn’ ) ($’Million)

% Change

Google (Advertising & Other)

 

$55,550

 

20.7%

 

N/A

N/A

Motorola Mobile (Hardware & Other)

 

$4,443

 

7.4%

 

Corporate

 

($168)

 

(100%)

 

Total

$59,825

 

19.2%

 

$13,966

 

9.5%

 

[9]

 

9. Risk

We face intense competition. If we do not continue to innovate and provide products and services that are useful to users, we may not remain competitive, and our revenues and operating results could be adversely affected

 

Our business is rapidly evolving and intensely competitive, and is subject to changing technologies, shifting user needs, and frequent introductions of new products and services. Our ability to compete successfully depends heavily on providing products and services that make using the internet a more useful and enjoyable experience for our users and delivering innovative products and technologies to the marketplace. As our business has evolved, the competitive pressure to innovate will now encompass a wider range of products and services, including products and services that may be outside of our historical core business.

 

We have many competitors in different industries, including general purpose search engines, vertical search engines and e-commerce sites, social networking sites, traditional media companies, wireless mobile device companies, and providers of online products and services. Our current and potential competitors range from large and established companies to emerging start-ups. Established companies have longer operating histories and more established relationships with customers and users, and they can use their experience and resources in ways that could affect our competitive position, including by making acquisitions, investing aggressively in research and development, aggressively initiating intellectual property claims (whether or not meritorious) and competing aggressively for advertisers and websites. Emerging start-ups may be able to innovate and provide products and services faster than we can.

 

Our competitors are constantly developing innovations in web search, online advertising, wireless mobile devices, and web-based products and services. The research and development of new, technologically advanced products is also a complex and uncertain process requiring high levels of innovation and investment, as well as the accurate anticipation of technology, market trends and consumer needs. As a result, we must continue to invest significant resources in research and development, including through acquisitions, in order to enhance our web search technology and our existing products and services, and introduce new products and services that people can easily and effectively use. If we are unable to provide quality products and services, then acceptance rates for our products and services could decline and affect consumer and advertiser perceptions of our brand. In addition, these new products and services may present new and difficult technological and legal challenges, and we may be subject to claims if users of these offerings experience service disruptions or failures or other issues. Our operating results would also suffer if our innovations are not responsive to the needs of our users, advertisers, and Google Network Members, are not appropriately timed with market opportunities, or are not effectively brought to market. As technology continues to develop, our competitors may be able to offer user experiences that are, or that are seen to be, substantially similar to or better than ours. This may force us to compete in different ways and expend significant resources in order to remain competitive. If our competitors are more successful than we are in developing compelling products or in attracting and retaining users, advertisers, and content providers, our revenues and operating results could be adversely affected.

 

Our ongoing investment in new businesses and new products, services, and technologies is inherently risky, and could disrupt our ongoing businesses

 

We have invested and expect to continue to invest in new businesses, products, services, and technologies. Such endeavors may involve significant risks and uncertainties, including distraction of management from current operations, insufficient revenues to offset liabilities assumed and expenses associated with these new investments, inadequate return of capital on our investments, and unidentified issues not discovered in our due diligence of such strategies and offerings. Because these new ventures are inherently risky, no assurance can be given that such strategies and offerings will be successful and will not adversely affect our reputation, financial condition, and operating results.

 

More people are using devices other than personal computers to access the internet and accessing new platforms to make search queries. If manufacturers and users do not widely adopt versions of our web search technology, products, or operating systems developed for these devices, our business could be adversely affected.

 

The number of people who access the internet through devices other than personal computers, including mobile phones, smartphones, handheld computers such as netbooks and tablets, video game consoles, and television set-top devices, is increasing dramatically. The lower resolution, functionality, and memory associated with some alternative devices make the use of our products and services through such devices more difficult and the versions of our products and services developed for these devices may not be compelling to users, manufacturers, or distributors of alternative devices. Each manufacturer or distributor may establish unique technical standards for its devices, and our products and services may not work or be viewable on these devices as a result. Some manufacturers may also elect not to include our products on their devices. In addition, search queries are increasingly being undertaken via “apps” tailored to particular devices or social media platforms, which could affect our share of the search market over time. As new devices and platforms are continually being released, it is difficult to predict the problems we may encounter in adapting our products and services and developing competitive new products and services. We expect to continue to devote significant resources to the creation, support, and maintenance of products and services across multiple platforms. If we are unable to attract and retain a substantial number of alternative device manufacturers, distributors, and users to our products and services, or if we are slow to develop products and technologies that are more compatible with alternative devices and platforms, we will fail to capture the opportunities available as consumers and advertisers transition to a dynamic, multi-screen environment.

 

We generate a significant portion of our revenues from advertising, and a reduction in spending by or loss of advertisers could seriously harm our business

 

We generated 91% of Google revenues from our advertisers in 2013. Our advertisers can generally terminate their contracts with us at any time. Advertisers will not continue to do business with us if their investment in advertising with us does not generate sales leads, and ultimately customers, or if we do not deliver their advertisements in an appropriate and effective manner. If we are unable to remain competitive and provide value to our advertisers, they may stop placing ads with us, which would adversely affect our revenues and business.

 

In addition, expenditures by advertisers tend to be cyclical, reflecting overall economic conditions and budgeting and buying patterns. Adverse macroeconomic conditions can also have a material negative impact on the demand for advertising and cause our advertisers to reduce the amounts they spend on advertising, which could adversely affect our revenues and business.

 

Our revenue growth rate could decline over time, and we anticipate downward pressure on our operating margin in the future.

 

Our revenue growth rate could decline over time as a result of a number of factors, including as a result of:

 

  • increasing competition,
  • changes in property mix, platform mix and geographical mix,
  • the challenges in maintaining our growth rate as our revenues increase to higher levels, the evolution of the online advertising market, including the increasing variety of online platforms for advertising, and the other markets in which we participate and the success of our investments in new businesses, products, services, and technologies.

 

The revenue growth rate of our Motorola Mobile segment will also depend on a number of factors, including the success of our new products, our reliance on several large customers, the absence of long-term exclusivity arrangements with such customers, our ability to gain significant market share in the mobile devices space, our reliance on third-party distributors, representatives and retailers to sell certain of our products and the successful implementation of our product and operating system strategies. Furthermore, consolidation in the telecommunications industry could negatively impact our business because there would be fewer network operators and it could be more difficult to replace any lost customers. Any of these factors could have a negative impact on our Motorola Mobile segment and have an adverse effect on our consolidated financial results.

 

We believe our operating margin will experience downward pressure as a result of increasing competition and increased expenditures for many aspects of our business, including Motorola, and new lines of business. For instance, our operating margin will experience downward pressure if a greater percentage of our revenues comes from ads placed on our Google Network Members' websites compared to revenues generated through ads placed on our own websites or if we spend a proportionately larger amount to promote the distribution of certain products, including Google Chrome. Both the margin on revenues we generate from our Google Network Members and the margin on revenues from our Motorola business are significantly less than the margin on revenues we generate from advertising on our websites. Also, the margins on advertising revenues from mobile devices and newer advertising formats are generally less than the margin on revenues we generate from advertising on our websites. Additionally, the margin we earn on revenues generated from our Google Network Members could decrease in the future if we pay an even larger percentage of advertising fees to our Google Network Members.

 

We are subject to increased regulatory scrutiny that may negatively impact our business

 

The growth of our company and our expansion into a variety of new fields implicate a variety of new regulatory issues, and we have experienced increased regulatory scrutiny as we have grown. We continue to cooperate with the European Commission (EC), other international regulatory authorities, and several state attorneys general in investigations they are conducting with respect to our business and its impact on competition. Legislators and regulators, including those conducting investigations in the U.S. and Europe, may make legal and regulatory changes, or interpret and apply existing laws, in ways that make our products and services less useful to our users, require us to incur substantial costs, expose us to unanticipated civil or criminal liability, or cause us to change our business practices. These changes or increased costs could negatively impact our business and results of operations in material ways.

 

We are regularly subject to claims, suits, government investigations, and other proceedings that may result in adverse outcomes

 

We are regularly subject to claims, suits, government investigations, and other proceedings involving competition and antitrust (such as the pending investigations by the EC), intellectual property, privacy, consumer protection, tax, labor and employment, commercial disputes, content generated by our users, goods and services offered by advertisers or publishers using our platforms, and other matters. The sale of hardware products also exposes us to the risk of product liability and other litigation involving assertions about product defects, as well as health and safety, hazardous materials usage, and other environmental concerns. In addition, our businesses face intellectual property litigation, as further discussed later, that exposes us to the risk of exclusion and cease and desist orders, which could limit our ability to sell products and services. Such claims, suits, government investigations, and proceedings are inherently uncertain and their results cannot be predicted with certainty. Regardless of the outcome, such legal proceedings can have an adverse impact on us because of legal costs, diversion of management resources, and other factors. Determining reserves for our pending litigation is a complex, fact-intensive process that requires significant judgment. It is possible that a resolution of one or more such proceedings could result in substantial fines and penalties that could adversely affect our business, consolidated financial position, results of operations, or cash flows in a particular period. These proceedings could also result in reputational harm, criminal sanctions, consent decrees, or orders preventing us from offering certain features, functionalities, products, or services, requiring a change in our business practices or product recalls or other field action, or requiring development of non-infringing or otherwise altered products or technologies. Any of these consequences could adversely affect our business and results of operations.

 

Acquisitions and investments could result in operating difficulties, dilution, and other harmful consequences that may adversely impact our business and results of operations

 

Acquisitions are an important element of our overall corporate strategy and use of capital, and these transactions could be material to our financial condition and results of operations. We expect to continue to evaluate and enter into discussions regarding a wide array of potential strategic transactions. The process of integrating an acquired company, business, or technology has created, and will continue to create, unforeseen operating difficulties and expenditures. The areas where we face risks include:

 

  • Diversion of management time and focus from operating our business to acquisition integration challenges.
  • Failure to successfully further develop the acquired business or technology.
  • Implementation or remediation of controls, procedures, and policies at the acquired company.
  • Integration of the acquired company's accounting, human resource, and other administrative systems, and coordination of product, engineering, and sales and marketing functions.
  • Transition of operations, users, and customers onto our existing platforms.
  • Failure to obtain required approvals on a timely basis, if at all, from governmental authorities, or conditions placed upon approval, under competition and antitrust laws which could, among other things, delay or prevent us from completing a transaction, or otherwise restrict our ability to realize the expected financial or strategic goals of an acquisition.
  • In the case of foreign acquisitions, the need to integrate operations across different cultures and languages and to address the particular economic, currency, political, and regulatory risks associated with specific countries.
  • Cultural challenges associated with integrating employees from the acquired company into our organization, and retention of employees from the businesses we acquire.
  • Liability for activities of the acquired company before the acquisition, including patent and trademark infringement claims, violations of laws, commercial disputes, tax liabilities, and other known and unknown liabilities.
  • Litigation or other claims in connection with the acquired company, including claims from terminated employees, customers, former stockholders, or other third parties.

 

Our failure to address these risks or other problems encountered in connection with our past or future acquisitions and investments could cause us to fail to realize the anticipated benefits of such acquisitions or investments, incur unanticipated liabilities, and harm our business generally.

 

Our acquisitions could also result in dilutive issuances of our equity securities, the incurrence of debt, contingent liabilities, or amortization expenses, or impairment of goodwill and purchased long-lived assets, and restructuring charges, any of which could harm our financial condition or results. Also, the anticipated benefit of many of our acquisitions may not materialize.

 

Our business depends on a strong brand, and failing to maintain and enhance our brand would hurt our ability to expand our base of users, advertisers, Google Network Members, and other partners

 

The brand identity that we have developed has significantly contributed to the success of our business.

 

Maintaining and enhancing the “Google” brand is critical to expanding our base of users, advertisers, Google Network Members, and other partners. We believe that the importance of brand recognition will increase due to the relatively low barriers to entry in the internet market. Our brand may be negatively impacted by a number of factors, including data protection and security issues, service outages, and product malfunctions. If we fail to maintain and enhance the “Google” brand, or if we incur excessive expenses in this effort, our business, operating results, and financial condition will be materially and adversely affected. Maintaining and enhancing our brand will depend largely on our ability to be a technology leader and continue to provide high-quality innovative products and services, which we may not do successfully.

 

A variety of new and existing U.S. and foreign laws could subject us to claims or otherwise harm our business

 

We are subject to numerous U.S. and foreign laws and regulations covering a wide variety of subject matters. New laws and regulations (or new interpretations of existing laws and regulations) may also impact our business. The costs of compliance with these laws and regulations are high and are likely to increase in the future. Any failure on our part to comply with these laws and regulations can result in negative publicity and diversion of management time and effort and may subject us to significant liabilities and other penalties.

 

Furthermore, many of these laws were adopted prior to the advent of the internet and related technologies and, as a result, do not contemplate or address the unique issues of the internet and related technologies. The laws that do reference the internet are being interpreted by the courts, but their applicability and scope remain uncertain. For example, the laws relating to the liability of providers of online services are currently unsettled both within the U.S. and abroad. Claims have also been, or may be, threatened and filed against us under both U.S. and foreign laws for defamation, invasion of privacy and other tort claims, unlawful activity, patent, copyright and trademark infringement, or other theories based on the nature and content of the materials searched and the ads posted by our users, our products and services, or content generated by our users. Moreover, current and new patent laws such as U.S. patent laws and European patent laws may affect the ability of companies, including us, to protect their innovations and defend against claims of patent infringement.

 

In addition, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act has provisions that limit, but do not necessarily eliminate, our liability for caching or hosting, or for listing or linking to, third-party websites that include materials that infringe copyrights or other rights, so long as we comply with the statutory requirements of this act. Any future legislation impacting these safe harbors may adversely impact us. Various U.S. and international laws restrict the distribution of materials considered harmful to children and impose additional restrictions on the ability of online services to collect information from minors. In the area of data protection, many states have passed laws requiring notification to users when there is a security breach for personal data, such as California's Information Practices Act. We face similar risks and costs as our products and services are offered in international markets and may be subject to additional regulations.

 

We are, and may in the future be, subject to intellectual property or other claims, which are costly to defend, could result in significant damage awards, and could limit our ability to use certain technologies in the future.

 

Internet, technology, media, and other companies own large numbers of patents, copyrights, trademarks, and trade secrets and frequently enter into litigation based on allegations of infringement or other violations of intellectual property rights. In addition, patent holding companies may continue to seek to monetize patents they have purchased or otherwise obtained. As we have grown, the intellectual property rights claims against us have increased and may continue to increase as we develop new products, services, and technologies.

 

We have had patent, copyright, and trademark infringement lawsuits filed against us claiming that certain of our products, services, and technologies, including Android, Google Search, Google AdWords, Google AdSense, Motorola products, Google Maps, Google Books, Google News, Google Image Search, Google Chrome, Google Talk, Google Voice, and YouTube, among others, infringe the intellectual property rights of others. Third parties have also sought broad injunctive relief against us by filing claims in U.S. and international courts and the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) for exclusion and cease and desist orders, which could limit our ability to sell our products or services in the U.S. or elsewhere if our products or services or those of our customers or suppliers are found to infringe the intellectual property subject to the claims. Adverse results in any of these lawsuits may include awards of substantial monetary damages, costly royalty or licensing agreements (if licenses are available at all), or orders preventing us from offering certain features, functionalities, products, or services, and may also cause us to change our business practices, and require development of non-infringing products or technologies, which could result in a loss of revenues for us and otherwise harm our business. In addition, many of our agreements with our customers and partners, including certain suppliers, require us to indemnify them for certain intellectual property infringement claims against them, which could increase our costs as a result of defending such claims, and may require that we pay significant damages if there were an adverse ruling in any such claims. Such customers and partners may also discontinue the use of our products, services, and technologies, as a result of injunctions or otherwise, which could result in loss of revenues and adversely impact our business. Moreover, supplier provided intellectual property indemnities to us, when obtainable, may not cover all damages and losses suffered by us and our customers from covered products.

 

Regardless of the merits of the claims, intellectual property claims are often time consuming, expensive to litigate or settle, and cause significant diversion of management attention. To the extent such intellectual property infringement claims are successful, they may have an adverse effect on our business, consolidated financial position, results of operations, or cash flows.

 

Our intellectual property rights are valuable, and any inability to protect them could reduce the value of our products, services, and brand

 

Our patents, trademarks, trade secrets, copyrights, and other intellectual property rights are important assets for us. Various events outside of our control pose a threat to our intellectual property rights, as well as to our products, services and technologies. For example, effective intellectual property protection may not be available in every country in which our products and services are distributed or made available through the internet. Also, the efforts we have taken to protect our proprietary rights may not be sufficient or effective.

 

Although we seek to obtain patent protection for our innovations, it is possible we may not be able to protect some of these innovations. Moreover, because of our long-term interests in open source, we may not have adequate patent protection for certain innovations that later turn out to be important. Furthermore, there is always the possibility, despite our efforts, that the scope of the protection gained will be insufficient or that an issued patent may be deemed invalid or unenforceable.

 

We also seek to maintain certain intellectual property as trade secrets. The secrecy could be compromised by outside parties, or by our employees, which could cause us to lose the competitive advantage resulting from these trade secrets.

 

We also face risks associated with our trademarks. For example, there is a risk that the word “Google” could become so commonly used that it becomes synonymous with the word “search.” If this happens, we could lose protection for this trademark, which could result in other people using the word “Google” to refer to their own products, thus diminishing our brand.

 

Any significant impairment of our intellectual property rights could harm our business and our ability to compete. Also, protecting our intellectual property rights is costly and time consuming. Any increase in the unauthorized use of our intellectual property could make it more expensive to do business and harm our operating results.

 

We may be subject to legal liability associated with providing online services or content

 

We host and provide a wide variety of services and products that enable users to exchange information, advertise products and services, conduct business, and engage in various online activities both domestically and internationally. The law relating to the liability of providers of these online services and products for activities of their users is still somewhat unsettled both within the U.S. and internationally. Claims have been threatened and have been brought against us for defamation, negligence, breaches of contract, copyright or trademark infringement, unfair competition, unlawful activity, tort, including personal injury, fraud, or other theories based on the nature and content of information that we publish or to which we provide links or that may be posted online or generated by us or by third parties, including our users. In addition, we are and have been and may again in the future be subject to domestic or international actions alleging that certain content we have generated or third-party content that we have made available within our services violates U.S. and non-U.S. law.

 

We also arrange for the distribution of third-party advertisements to third-party publishers and advertising networks, and we offer third-party products, services, or content. We may be subject to claims concerning these products, services, or content by virtue of our involvement in marketing, branding, broadcasting, or providing access to them, even if we do not ourselves host, operate, provide, or provide access to these products, services, or content. Defense of any such actions could be costly and involve significant time and attention of our management and other resources, may result in monetary liabilities or penalties, and may require us to change our business in an adverse manner.

 

Privacy concerns relating to our technology could damage our reputation and deter current and potential users from using our products and services

 

From time to time, concerns have been expressed about whether our products, services, or processes compromise the privacy of users and others. Concerns about our practices with regard to the collection, use, disclosure, or security of personal information or other privacy related matters, even if unfounded, could damage our reputation and adversely affect our operating results.

 

In addition, as nearly all of our products and services are web-based, the amount of data we store for our users on our servers (including personal information) has been increasing. Any systems failure or compromise of our security that results in the release of our users' data could seriously limit the adoption of our products and services, as well as harm our reputation and brand and, therefore, our business. We expect to continue to expend significant resources to protect against security breaches. The risk that these types of events could seriously harm our business is likely to increase as we expand the number of web-based products and services we offer, and operate in more countries.

 

Regulatory authorities around the world are considering a number of legislative and regulatory proposals concerning data protection. In addition, the interpretation and application of consumer and data protection laws in the U.S., Europe and elsewhere are often uncertain and in flux. It is possible that these laws may be interpreted and applied in a manner that is inconsistent with our data practices. If so, in addition to the possibility of fines, this could result in an order requiring that we change our data practices, which could have an adverse effect on our business and results of operations. Complying with these various laws could cause us to incur substantial costs or require us to change our business practices in a manner adverse to our business.

 

We face a number of manufacturing and supply chain risks that, if not properly managed, could adversely impact our financial results and prospects

 

We face a number of risks related to manufacturing and supply chain management. For instance, the products we sell may have quality issues resulting from the design or manufacture of the product, or from the software used in the product. Sometimes, these issues may be caused by components we purchase from other manufacturers or suppliers. If the quality of our products does not meet our customers' expectations or our products are found to be defective, then our sales and operating earnings, and ultimately our reputation, could be negatively impacted.

 

We rely on third parties to manufacture many of our assemblies and finished products, and we have third-party arrangements for the design of some components and parts. Our business could be negatively affected if we are not able to engage third parties with the necessary capabilities or capacity on reasonable terms, or if those we engage fail to meet their obligations (whether due to financial difficulties or other reasons), or make adverse changes in the pricing or other material terms of our arrangements with them.

 

In the past, Motorola, like many electronics manufacturers, has experienced supply shortages and price increases driven by raw material availability, manufacturing capacity, labor shortages, industry allocations, natural disasters and significant changes in the financial or business condition of its suppliers. Workaround plans to address shortages have entailed in the past, and could entail in the future, increased freight costs for expedited shipments. We cannot assure you that we will not experience shortages or other supply chain disruptions in the future or that they will not negatively impact our operations. In addition, some of the components we use in our products are available only from a single source or limited sources, and we cannot assure you that we would be able to find replacement vendors on favorable terms or at all in the event of a supply chain disruption.

 

Additionally, because many of our supply contracts have volume-based pricing or minimum purchase requirements, if the volume of our hardware sales decreases or does not reach projected targets, we could face increased materials and manufacturing costs or other financial liabilities that could make our hardware products more costly per unit to manufacture and therefore less competitive and negatively impact our financial results. Further, certain of our competitors may negotiate more favorable contractual terms based on volume and other commitments that may provide them with competitive advantages and may impact our supply.

 

We also require our suppliers and business partners to comply with law and company policies regarding workplace and employment practices, environmental compliance and intellectual property licensing, but we do not control them or their practices. If any of them violates laws or implements practices regarded as unethical, we could experience supply chain disruptions, canceled orders, terminations of or damage to key relationships, and damage to our reputation. If any of them fails to procure necessary license rights to third-party intellectual property, legal action could ensue that could impact the salability of our products and expose us to financial obligations to third parties.

 

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act includes disclosure requirements regarding the use of “conflict” minerals mined from the Democratic Republic of Congo and adjoining countries (DRC) and procedures regarding a manufacturer's efforts to prevent the sourcing of such “conflict” minerals. SEC rules implementing these requirements may have the effect of reducing the pool of suppliers who can supply DRC “conflict free” components and parts, and we may not be able to obtain DRC conflict free products or supplies in sufficient quantities for our operations. Since our supply chain is complex, we may face reputational challenges with our customers, stockholders and other stakeholders if we are unable to sufficiently verify the origins for the "conflict" minerals used in our products.

 

If our security measures are breached, or if our services are subject to attacks that degrade or deny the ability of users to access our products and services, our products and services may be perceived as not being secure, users and customers may curtail or stop using our products and services, and we may incur significant legal and financial exposure.

 

Our products and services involve the storage and transmission of users' and customers' proprietary information, and security breaches expose us to a risk of loss of this information, litigation, and potential liability. We experience cyberattacks of varying degrees on a regular basis, and as a result, unauthorized parties have obtained, and may in the future obtain, access to our data or our users' or customers' data. Our security measures may also be breached due to employee error, malfeasance, or otherwise. Additionally, outside parties may attempt to fraudulently induce employees, users, or customers to disclose sensitive information in order to gain access to our data or our users' or customers' data. Any such breach or unauthorized access could result in significant legal and financial exposure, damage to our reputation, and a loss of confidence in the security of our products and services that could potentially have an adverse effect on our business. Because the techniques used to obtain unauthorized access, disable or degrade service, or sabotage systems change frequently and often are not recognized until launched against a target, we may be unable to anticipate these techniques or to implement adequate preventative measures. If an actual or perceived breach of our security occurs, the market perception of the effectiveness of our security measures could be harmed and we could lose users and customers.

 

Web spam and content farms could decrease our search quality, which could damage our reputation and deter our current and potential users from using our products and services

 

“Web spam” refers to websites that attempt to violate a search engine's quality guidelines or that otherwise seek to rank higher in search results than a search engine's assessment of their relevance and utility would rank them. Although English-language web spam in our search results has been significantly reduced, and web spam in most other languages is limited, we expect web spammers will continue to seek ways to improve their rankings inappropriately. We continuously combat web spam, including through indexing technology that makes it harder for spam-like, less useful web content to rank highly. We face challenges from low-quality and irrelevant content websites, including “content farms”, which are websites that generate large quantities of low-quality content to help them improve their search rankings. We are continually launching algorithmic changes focused on low-quality websites. If web spam and content farms continue to increase on Google, this could hurt our reputation for delivering relevant information or reduce user traffic to our websites. In addition, as we continue to take actions to improve our search quality and reduce low-quality content, this may in the short run reduce our AdSense revenues, since some of these websites are AdSense partners.

 

Interruption or failure of our information technology and communications systems could hurt our ability to effectively provide our products and services, which could damage our reputation and harm our operating results.

 

The availability of our products and services depends on the continuing operation of our information technology and communications systems. Our systems are vulnerable to damage or interruption from earthquakes, terrorist attacks, floods, fires, power loss, telecommunications failures, computer viruses, computer denial of service attacks, or other attempts to harm our systems. Some of our data centers are located in areas with a high risk of major earthquakes. Our data centers are also subject to break-ins, sabotage, and intentional acts of vandalism, and to potential disruptions if the operators of certain of these facilities have financial difficulties. Some of our systems are not fully redundant, and our disaster recovery planning cannot account for all eventualities. The occurrence of a natural disaster, a decision to close a facility we are using without adequate notice for financial reasons, or other unanticipated problems at our data centers could result in lengthy interruptions in our service. In addition, our products and services are highly technical and complex and may contain errors or vulnerabilities. Any errors or vulnerabilities in our products and services, or damage to or failure of our systems, could result in interruptions in our services, which could reduce our revenues and profits, and damage our brand.

 

Our international operations expose us to additional risks that could harm our business, operating results, and financial condition.

 

Our international operations are significant to our revenues and net income, and we plan to further expand internationally. International revenues accounted for approximately 55% of our consolidated revenues in 2013, and more than half of our user traffic has been coming from outside the U.S. In certain international markets, we have limited operating experience and may not benefit from any first-to-market advantages or otherwise succeed.

 

Most of our Motorola products are manufactured outside the U.S., primarily in China, Taiwan and Brazil. If our manufacturing in these countries is disrupted, our overall capacity could be reduced and sales or profitability could be negatively impacted. We require suppliers and business partners to comply with the law and company policies regarding workplace and employment practices, environmental compliance and intellectual property licensing, but we do not control them or their practices. If any of them violates laws or implements practices regarded as unethical, we could experience supply chain disruptions, canceled orders, terminations of or damage to key relationships, and damage to our reputation. If any of them fails to procure necessary license rights to third-party intellectual property, legal action could ensue that could impact the salability of our products and expose us to financial obligations to third parties.

 

Moreover, in connection with Motorola Mobile's operations in Brazil, we have had and continue to have legal disputes and controversies, including tax, labor and trade compliance controversies and other legal matters that take many years to resolve. We incur legal and other costs in managing and defending these matters and expect to continue to incur such costs. Based on our assessment of these matters, we have recorded reserves on only a small portion of the total potential exposure. It is, however, very difficult to predict the outcome of legal disputes and controversies, including litigation, in Brazil and our ultimate exposure may be greater than our current assessments and related reserves.

 

In addition to risks described elsewhere in this section, our international operations expose us to other risks, including the following:

 

  • Changes in local political, economic, social, and labor conditions, which may adversely harm our business.
  • Restrictions on foreign ownership and investments, and stringent foreign exchange controls that might prevent us from repatriating cash earned in countries outside the U.S.
  • Import and export requirements, tariffs, trade disputes and barriers, and customs classifications that may prevent us from offering products or providing services to a particular market and may increase our operating costs.
  • Potential injunctions from importation into the U.S. of our Motorola products manufactured outside the U.S. in an ITC matter.
  • Longer payment cycles in some countries, increased credit risk, and higher levels of payment fraud.
  • Still developing foreign laws and legal systems.
  • Uncertainty regarding liability for services and content, including uncertainty as a result of local laws and lack of legal precedent.
  • Different employee/employer relationships, existence of workers' councils and labor unions, and other challenges caused by distance, language, and cultural differences, making it harder to do business in certain jurisdictions.

In addition, compliance with complex foreign and U.S. laws and regulations that apply to our international operations increases our cost of doing business. These numerous and sometimes conflicting laws and regulations include internal control and disclosure rules, data privacy and filtering requirements, anti-corruption laws, such as the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and other local laws prohibiting corrupt payments to governmental officials, and antitrust and competition regulations, among others. Violations of these laws and regulations could result in fines and penalties, criminal sanctions against us, our officers, or our employees, prohibitions on the conduct of our business and on our ability to offer our products and services in one or more countries, and could also materially affect our brand, our international expansion efforts, our ability to attract and retain employees, our business, and our operating results. Although we have implemented policies and procedures designed to ensure compliance with these laws and regulations, there can be no assurance that our employees, contractors, or agents will not violate our policies.

 

Finally, since we conduct business in currencies other than U.S. dollars but report our financial results in U.S. dollars, we face exposure to fluctuations in currency exchange rates. Although we hedge a portion of our international currency exposure, significant fluctuations in exchange rates between the U.S. dollar and foreign currencies may adversely affect our net income. Additionally, hedging programs are inherently risky and could expose us to additional risks that could adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.

 

Our operating results may fluctuate, which makes our results difficult to predict and could cause our results to fall short of expectations.

 

Our operating results may fluctuate as a result of a number of factors, many outside of our control. As a result, comparing our operating results on a period-to-period basis may not be meaningful, and you should not rely on our past results as an indication of our future performance. Our quarterly, year-to-date, and annual expenses as a percentage of our revenues may differ significantly from our historical or projected rates. Our operating results in future quarters may fall below expectations. Any of these events could cause our stock price to fall. Each of the risk factors listed in this section in addition to the following factors may affect our operating results:

 

  • Our ability to continue to attract users to our websites and satisfy existing users on our websites.
  • Our ability to monetize (or generate revenues from) traffic on our websites and our Google Network Members' websites.
  • Revenue fluctuations caused by changes in property mix, platform mix and geographical mix.
  • The amount of revenues and expenses generated and incurred in currencies other than U.S. dollars, and our ability to manage the resulting risk through our foreign exchange risk management program.
  • The amount and timing of operating costs and expenses and capital expenditures related to the maintenance and expansion of our businesses, operations, and infrastructure.
  • Our focus on long-term goals over short-term results.
  • The results of our investments in risky projects, including new businesses, products, services, technologies and acquisitions.
  • Our ability to keep our websites operational at a reasonable cost and without service interruptions.
  • Our ability to generate significant revenues from services in which we have invested considerable time and resources.

 

Because our business is changing and evolving, our historical operating results may not be useful to you in predicting our future operating results. In addition, advertising spending has historically been cyclical in nature, reflecting overall economic conditions, as well as budgeting and buying patterns. Also, user traffic tends to be seasonal. Our rapid growth has tended to mask the cyclicality and seasonality of our business. As our growth rate has slowed, the cyclicality and seasonality in our business has become more pronounced and caused our operating results to fluctuate.

 

If we were to lose the services of Larry, Sergey, Eric, or other key personnel, we may not be able to execute our business strategy.

 

Our future success depends in a large part upon the continued service of key members of our senior management team. In particular, Larry Page and Sergey Brin are critical to the overall management of Google and the development of our technology. Along with our Executive Chairman Eric E. Schmidt, they also play a key role in maintaining our culture and setting our strategic direction. All of our executive officers and key employees are at-will employees, and we do not maintain any key-person life insurance policies. The loss of key personnel could seriously harm our business.

 

We rely on highly skilled personnel and, if we are unable to retain or motivate key personnel, hire qualified personnel, or maintain our corporate culture, we may not be able to grow effectively

 

Our performance largely depends on the talents and efforts of highly skilled individuals. Our future success depends on our continuing ability to identify, hire, develop, motivate, and retain highly skilled personnel for all areas of our organization. Competition in our industry for qualified employees is intense, and certain of our competitors have directly targeted our employees. In addition, our compensation arrangements, such as our equity award programs, may not always be successful in attracting new employees and retaining and motivating our existing employees. Our continued ability to compete effectively depends on our ability to attract new employees and to retain and motivate our existing employees.

 

In addition, we believe that our corporate culture fosters innovation, creativity, and teamwork. As our organization grows, and we are required to implement more complex organizational management structures, we may find it increasingly difficult to maintain the beneficial aspects of our corporate culture. This could negatively impact our future success.

 

Our business depends on continued and unimpeded access to the internet by us and our users. Internet access providers may be able to block, degrade, or charge for access to certain of our products and services, which could lead to additional expenses and the loss of users and advertisers.

 

Our products and services depend on the ability of our users to access the internet, and certain of our products require significant bandwidth to work effectively. Currently, this access is provided by companies that have significant market power in the broadband and internet access marketplace, including incumbent telephone companies, cable companies, mobile communications companies, and government-owned service providers. Some of these providers have taken, or have stated that they may take measures, including legal actions, that could degrade, disrupt, or increase the cost of user access to certain of our products by restricting or prohibiting the use of their infrastructure to support or facilitate our offerings, or by charging increased fees to us or our users to provide our offerings. Such interference could result in a loss of existing users and advertisers, and increased costs, and could impair our ability to attract new users and advertisers, thereby harming our revenues and growth.

 

New technologies could block our ads, which would harm our business

 

Technologies have been developed that can block the display of our ads and that provide tools to users to opt out of our advertising products. Most of our revenues are derived from fees paid to us by advertisers in connection with the display of ads on web pages for our users. As a result, such technologies and tools could adversely affect our operating results.

 

We are exposed to fluctuations in the market values of our investment portfolio

 

Given the global nature of our business, we have investments both domestically and internationally. Credit ratings and pricing of these investments can be negatively impacted by liquidity, credit deterioration or losses, financial results, or other factors. As a result, the value or liquidity of our cash equivalents and marketable securities could decline and result in a material impairment, which could materially adversely affect our financial condition and operating results.

 

We may have exposure to greater than anticipated tax liabilities

 

Our future income taxes could be adversely affected by earnings being lower than anticipated in jurisdictions that have lower statutory tax rates and higher than anticipated in jurisdictions that have higher statutory tax rates, by changes in the valuation of our deferred tax assets and liabilities, as a result of gains on our foreign exchange risk management program, or changes in tax laws, regulations, or accounting principles, as well as certain discrete items. We are subject to regular review and audit by both domestic and foreign tax authorities. Any adverse outcome of such a review or audit could have a negative effect on our operating results and financial condition. In addition, the determination of our worldwide provision for income taxes and other tax liabilities requires significant judgment, and there are many transactions and calculations where the ultimate tax determination is uncertain. Although we believe our estimates are reasonable, the ultimate tax outcome may differ from the amounts recorded in our financial statements and may materially affect our financial results in the period or periods for which such determination is made.[10]