SAN FRANCISCO – Google eked out slightly higher earnings in the fourth quarter, despite a financial drag caused by the Internet search leader’s expansion into device manufacturing and a decline in digital ad prices as more people gaze into the smaller screens of smartphones.
The results announced Tuesday pleased investors, helping to lift Google’s stock by 5 percent in extended trading.
More advertising poured into Google during the holiday shopping season, fueling a moneymaking machine that has steadily churned out higher profits since the company went public in 2004. Google’s fourth-quarter ad revenue totaled $12.1 billion, a 19 percent increase from the previous year.
Google earned nearly $2.9 billion, or $8.62 per share, during the fourth quarter. That compared to net income of $2.7 billion, or $8.22 per share, at the same time last year.
The performance boosted Google’s stock by $35.33 to $738.20 in Tuesday’s extended trading.
Microsoft reportedly part of deal for Dell
NEW YORK – Microsoft has joined the negotiations to buy struggling computer maker Dell, according to media reports.
Both CNBC and the Wall Street Journal reported that Microsoft Corp. may invest some of the money needed to take Dell Inc. private after 25 years as a publicly traded company. Tuesday’s stories cited unidentified people familiar with the negotiations.
If Microsoft joins in a Dell buyout, CNBC and the Journal say the software maker would contribute $1 billion to $3 billion. That amount would make Microsoft Corp. a minority investor in a complex deal expected to cost $23 billion to $27 billion if it’s completed.
Microsoft declined to comment on the reports.
Dell, which is based in Round Rock, Texas, hasn’t said whether it’s interested in selling
EU trademark ruling: That ‘Bud’ all yours
The European Union has confirmed Anheuser-Busch InBev’s trademark rights for “Bud” following a long battle with a Czech brewery.
In a decision handed down Tuesday, the General Court of the European Union dismissed actions brought by Czech brewery Budejovicky Budvar that opposed A-B’s trademark of Bud for beer and other goods.
The court found that Budvar failed to show it used the word “Bud” for its products to a sufficient level prior to A-B’s application for a trademark in 1996.
“We are extremely pleased to have confirmed our right to a Bud trademark registration valid throughout the entire European Union,” Belgium-based A-B InBev said in a statement.
The company said that with the EU’s decision, it has “virtually world-wide protection” for the Bud and Budweiser brands.
Lowe’s to add 45,000 for seasonal positions
MOORESVILLE, N.C. – Home-improvement retailer Lowe’s Cos. said Tuesday that it plans to hire 45,000 seasonal workers ahead of its busy spring season, a sign that the nascent housing recovery is creating jobs.
Lowe’s, based in Mooresville, N.C., also plans to add 9,000 part-time employees on a permanent basis.
On average, seasonal employees will work 20 to 25 hours per week and the length of seasonal employment will vary. Most jobs will start in February and could last until September.