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Technology

Google’s Pixel phone shines despite mistakes gauging demand

Google Pixel phone
Industry researchers say Google’s Pixel smartphone has been a hot item since its October 2016 debut.
(John G Mabanglo / European Pressphoto Agency)

Sales of the Pixel phone — Google’s answer to Apple’s iPhone and Samsung’s Galaxy phone — appear to be off to a promising start that would have been even better if consumer demand had been managed as smartly as the device’s sleek design.

Google hasn’t released sales figures, but industry researchers say the Pixel has been a hot item since its October debut. One analyst estimates at least 1 million Pixels were sold last quarter even though Google could have done more to keep the phone in stock.

Google can afford to make some mistakes because its digital advertising network is so lucrative.

Alphabet Inc., Google’s corporate parent, provided another reminder of its financial might with Thursday’s release of its fourth-quarter earnings. The Mountain View, Calif., company said it earned $5.3 billion on revenue of $26 billion during the quarter.

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On a per-share basis, Alphabet said it had profit of $7.56. Adjusted for stock option expense, earnings were $9.36 per share.

That missed Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of 16 analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of $9.63 per share.

The Internet search giant posted revenue of $26.06 billion in the quarter. After subtracting Alphabet’s advertising commissions, revenue was $21.22 billion, which beat Wall Street forecasts. Thirteen analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $20.58 billion.

Alphabet shares have climbed 8.1% since the beginning of the year; for comparison, the Standard & Poor’s 500 index has risen 2.6%. 

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