Google Q4 revenues up 17% to $6.67bn

Google-owned sites generated revenues of $4.42bn. Google has reported revenues of $6.67bn for the fo

The Mountain View, California-based company has posted an operating income of $2.48bn, or 37% of revenues, compared to an operating income of $1.86bn, or 33% of revenues, for the same period a year ago.

For the quarter ended December, 31, 2009, the company reported a net income of $1.97bn, compared to $382m for the corresponding period last year. The earnings per share was $6.13 on 322 million diluted shares outstanding, compared to $1.21 in the fourth quarter of 2008 on 317 million diluted shares outstanding.

During the quarter, the company incurred a charge of $276m related to stock-based compensation (SBC), while the tax benefit related to SBC was $62m.

Google-owned sites generated revenues of $4.42bn, or 66% of total revenues, an increase of 16% compared to revenues of $3.81bn in the same period last year. Google partner sites revenues through AdSense rose 21% from fourth quarter 2008 network revenues of $1.69bn.

Geographically, revenues from outside of the US totalled $3.52bn, representing 53% of total revenues, while revenues from the UK totalled $772m, representing 12% of total revenues for the fourth quarter of 2009. The company recognised a benefit of $8m to revenues through foreign exchange risk management program.

Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, said: "Our performance in 2009 underscored the strength of our management team, the resilience of our business model and the pace of innovation within our product and engineering teams, which continued unabated throughout the downturn. As we enter 2010, we remain hugely optimistic about the internet and are continuing to invest heavily in technological innovation for the benefit not only of our users and customers, but also the wider web."

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Geoffrey Howe dies, aged 88

Howe was Margaret Thatcher's longest serving Cabinet minister – and the man credited with precipitating her downfall.

The former Conservative chancellor Lord Howe, a key figure in the Thatcher government, has died of a suspected heart attack, his family has said. He was 88.

Geoffrey Howe was the longest-serving member of Margaret Thatcher's Cabinet, playing a key role in both her government and her downfall. Born in Port Talbot in 1926, he began his career as a lawyer, and was first elected to parliament in 1964, but lost his seat just 18 months later.

Returning as MP for Reigate in the Conservative election victory of 1970, he served in the government of Edward Heath, first as Solicitor General for England & Wales, then as a Minister of State for Trade. When Margaret Thatcher became opposition leader in 1975, she named Howe as her shadow chancellor.

He retained this brief when the party returned to government in 1979. In the controversial budget of 1981, he outlined a radical monetarist programme, abandoning then-mainstream economic thinking by attempting to rapidly tackle the deficit at a time of recession and unemployment. Following the 1983 election, he was appointed as foreign secretary, in which post he negotiated the return of Hong Kong to China.

In 1989, Thatcher demoted Howe to the position of leader of the house and deputy prime minister. And on 1 November 1990, following disagreements over Britain's relationship with Europe, he resigned from the Cabinet altogether. 

Twelve days later, in a powerful speech explaining his resignation, he attacked the prime minister's attitude to Brussels, and called on his former colleagues to "consider their own response to the tragic conflict of loyalties with which I have myself wrestled for perhaps too long".

Labour Chancellor Denis Healey once described an attack from Howe as "like being savaged by a dead sheep" - but his resignation speech is widely credited for triggering the process that led to Thatcher's downfall. Nine days later, her premiership was over.

Howe retired from the Commons in 1992, and was made a life peer as Baron Howe of Aberavon. He later said that his resignation speech "was not intended as a challenge, it was intended as a way of summarising the importance of Europe". 

Nonetheless, he added: "I am sure that, without [Thatcher's] resignation, we would not have won the 1992 election... If there had been a Labour government from 1992 onwards, New Labour would never have been born."

Jonn Elledge is the editor of the New Statesman's sister site CityMetric. He is on Twitter, far too much, as @JonnElledge.