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Google Joins the Tech Wreck

It missed big on both the top and bottom line, instantly creating a big sell-off of its high-flown stock

After Intel and IBM came up short this week, Google's Q3 numbers were released early Thursday utterly surprising a market high on its business, an enthusiasm that had driven its stock to all-time highs.

It missed big on both the top and bottom line, instantly creating a big sell-off of its high-flown stock, losing $19 billion in market cap, before it was halted at the company's request at $687.30, down roughly 70 bucks or 9%.

It was not clear what was going on and whether the company actually intended an early release since it's unusual for a company like Google to post its numbers during the trading day. The release also looks like a draft with a placeholder for a quote from Larry Page.

A half and hour or so after the crisis broke Google came out and blamed RR Donnelly, its filing agent, for sending its 8K to the SEC without authorization. Such an event is practically unheard of.

It said it would hold its scheduled conference call at 4:30 New York time. Unfortunately Google never gives guidance.

At around 2:30 Donnelly said it was trying to figure out what happened.

The stock was still halted an hour or so later with promises it would reopen before the market closed. Because of the halo effect, Facebook dropped in unison with Google out fear for mobile advertising.

Anyway, it still appears Google earned $9.03 versus expectations of $10.65 or $6.53 versus $8.33 on sales of $11.33 billion ex tac versus expectations of $11.86 billion.

Profits were down 20%; ad pricing dove while costs rose 71%. The average cost per click fell 15% year-over-year or 3% sequentially. Consumer clicks on Google ads were up 33%. Paid clicks were up 6% sequentially.

Motorola Mobility, which Google bought for $12.5 billion and has only folded in now, brought in $2.58 billion in revenue, including $1.78 billion from the mobile segment and $797 million from the home segment. Its operating loss was $527 million. Not a happy picture.

Google means to cut Motorola's workforce by 20%.

Page, who disappeared for a while because of some unexplained throat problems, reappeared the other day sounding quite hoarse and he didn't sound strong on the conference call. As a matter of fact, he sounded weak as a kitten pausing between breathes, speaking slowly and hesitating. He apologized for the day's mayhem.

CNBC said Google has been calling around to prepare analysts for the bad news, which involves its core business, mobile, emerging markets and of course Motorola Mobility. It also involves the cost of the Nexus. Google says it activates more than 1.3 million new Android devices every month.

At 14-years-old, Google cleared its first $14 billion revenue quarter.

Google shares were back to $700 after-hours, still down 36 bucks.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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