Google parent Alphabet missed quarterly profit forecasts despite strong sales as higher expenses offset demand for ads on mobile apps, the U.S. technology company said on Thursday.
Alphabet reported a hit to earnings related to taxes owed on overseas cash following recent changes to U.S. law. This $9.9 billion tax expense resulted in a net loss of $3.02 billion, or $4.35 a share, the company said Thursday in a statement.
The company's fourth-quarter sales increased 24 percent to $32.3 billion. Adjusted quarterly profit of $6.8 billion, or $9.70 per share.
Alphabet generated $110.9 billion in full-year revenue, up 23 percent from 2016 and topping $100 billion for the first time. Profit fell 35 percent to $12.6 billion because of a tax bill and a separate charge last summer for a $2.7 billion European Union antitrust fine, which is under appeal.
Non-advertising revenue from Google combined with revenue from Verily and the other Alphabet companies was $15.5 billion in 2017, accounting for about 14 percent of total revenue, compared to $10.9 billion, or 12 percent, in 2016.
Traffic acquisition costs, payments to phone makers and web browsers, rose to $6.45 billion, or 24 percent of Google's overall ad revenue. Google has attributed the surge in that expense to the rising number of ads it runs on YouTube, mobile devices and automated systems, which require sharing more money with partners.
Despite the growth in Google's ad sales, it continued to struggle with lower ad rates, primarily from the rise in mobile ads. In the fourth quarter, cost-per-click fell 14 percent.
Google has also poured enough money into its Pixel phones, smart speakers and other devices. Sales and marketing expenses rose to $4.3 billion, or 13 percent of overall sales.
The company doesn't disclose figures from cloud-computing or hardware sales, but those divisions, lumped into Google's Other Revenue, grew 38 percent to $4.69 billion in the fourth quarter.
On a conference call, Google Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai said cloud is now a billion-dollar business every quarter, and noted that hardware sales more than doubled in 2017.
Alphabet's Other Bets category, which includes its Fiber Internet and Nest home devices, posted $409 million in revenue, with an operating loss of $916 million.