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Alphabet Is Now The World’s Most Valuable Company, But It Lost $3.6 Billion In Moonshot Projects Last Year

2 February 2016, 6:10 am EST By Vincent Lanaria Tech Times
Alphabet has taken Apple's position as the world's most valuable company when after-hours trading drove its stock price up. The company, however, suffered losses of up to $3.6 billion in moonshot projects and "other bets" last year.  ( Pier Marco Tacca | Getty Images )

Alphabet has become the world's most valuable company, taking the top spot from Apple. However, the company's quarterly earnings report also revealed that it lost $3.6 billion in moonshot projects and "other bets," which are products beyond the Google subsidiary.

According to the financial data, those bets generated $448 million revenue in 2015, but they cost Alphabet about $3.6 billion to operate. For the record, they consist of Calico, Google Capital, Google Ventures, Google X and Sidewalk Labs. To be specific, self-driving cars and moonshot projects fall under the "bets" category.

It's also worth mentioning that this marks the first time the company released revenue and losses that are not part of the core products that remain under the Google division.

Projects That Are Making The Most Money

During an earnings call, Alphabet's Chief Financial Officer Ruth Porat said the Nest, Google Fiber and Verily (formerly known as Google Life Sciences) produced the most revenue.

Interestingly, analysts partly foresaw these results, where Nest is the biggest driver followed by Google Fiber.

Projects That Are Causing Losses

The sum of the total operating costs was mostly from the thermostats and smoke detectors from Nest, the Internet balloons of Project Loon, the investment in medical research of Verily, robots and other undisclosed moonshot projects of Google X.

Given the ambitious nature of moonshot projects, it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that they are among the chief culprits causing losses.

While last year's revenue did go up from $327 million, the operating loss that came with it was considerably higher at about $3.57 billion up from $1.9 billion in 2014.

Most Expensive Project

Google Fiber stands out from the list as the largest capital expenditure, as implementation of the project is costly. Needless to say, its growth is predicted to continue on in 2016.

"Other Bets"

As mentioned earlier, "other bets" include a broad range of subsidiaries and projects, and pinpointing the specific values is near impossible. For instance, how much Alphabet has invested in self-driving cars or the Internet of Things based on the report is difficult to determine.

Ad Revenue

While Alphabet incurred some big losses on other ventures, Google's advertising revenue shot up. The increase is mainly thanks to mobile ads, and the outlook on this department appears to be promising because of the numerous individuals who use mobile search.

"Our very strong revenue growth in Q4 reflects the vibrancy of our business, driven by mobile search as well as YouTube and programmatic advertising, all areas in which we've been investing for many years," Porat says.

YouTube video and programmatic advertising were also highlighted as some of the biggest contributors to the advertising revenue. Compared to last year's figure, the value went up from $16.3 billion to $19.1 billion, escalating by 17 percent.

At any rate, Alphabet will be sitting at the pinnacle for quite some time thanks to the increase of its stock price when the after-hours trading gave it a significant nudge. The company is currently worth $570 billion and is $31 billion more valuable than Apple's $539 billion worth.

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