Number crunchers might be interested to learn that Google's Q2 2005 official quarterly report (53 pages) hit the SEC EDGAR database today. The report is loaded down with numbers and some narrative. It offers more detail as compared to what was announced a few weeks ago when Google released their Q2 2005 earnings.
Non-Financial Highlights That Caught My Attention:
Certain companies have filed trademark infringement and related claims against us over the display of ads in response to user queries that include trademark terms. The outcomes of these lawsuits have differed from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Courts in France have held us liable for allowing advertisers to select certain trademarked terms as keywords. We are appealing those decisions. We are also subject to two lawsuits in Germany on similar matters where the courts held that we are not liable for the actions of our advertisers prior to notification of trademark rights. We are litigating or recently have litigated similar issues in other cases in the U.S., France, Germany, Italy and Austria. Adverse results in these lawsuits may result in, or even compel, a change in this practice which could result in a loss of revenues, which could harm our business.
From the Factors That Could Affect Future Results Section
Note: Some/Much of this has been mentioned in previous Google filings.
We face formidable competition in every aspect of our business, and particularly from other companies that seek to connect people with information on the web and provide them with relevant advertising. Currently, we consider our primary competitors to be Microsoft Corporation and Yahoo! Inc. Microsoft recently introduced a new search engine and has announced plans to develop features that make web search a more integrated part of its Windows operating system. We expect that Microsoft will increasingly use its financial and engineering resources to compete with us. Both Microsoft and Yahoo have more employees than we do (in Microsoft?s case, currently nearly 14 times as many). Microsoft also has significantly more cash resources than we do. Both of these companies also have longer operating histories and more established relationships with customers. They can use their experience and resources against us in a variety of competitive ways, including by making acquisitions, investing more aggressively in research and development and competing more aggressively for advertisers and web sites. Microsoft and Yahoo also may have a greater ability to attract and retain users than we do because they operate Internet portals with a broad range of content products and services. If Microsoft or Yahoo are successful in providing similar or better web search results compared to ours or leverage their platforms to make their web search services easier to access than ours, we could experience a significant decline in user traffic. Any such decline in traffic could negatively affect our revenues.
We generate our revenue almost entirely from advertising, and the reduction in spending by or loss of advertisers could seriously harm our business. We generated approximately 99% of our revenues in 2004, and in the six months ended June 30, 2005, from our advertisers. Our advertisers can generally terminate their contracts with us at any time. Advertisers will not continue to do business with us if their investment in advertising with us does not generate sales leads, and ultimately customers, or if we do not deliver their advertisements in an appropriate and effective manner. If we are unable to remain competitive and provide value to our advertisers, they may stop placing ads with us, which would negatively affect our revenues and business.
We are migrating critical financial functions to a third-party provider. If this transition is not successful, our business and operations could be disrupted and our operating results would be harmed. We have entered into an arrangement to transfer our worldwide billing, collection and credit evaluation functions to a third-party service provider, Bertelsmann AG, and are currently in the process of implementing this arrangement.
Proprietary document formats may limit the effectiveness of our search technology by preventing our technology from accessing the content of documents in such formats which could limit the effectiveness of our products and services. A large amount of information on the Internet is provided in proprietary document formats such as Microsoft Word. The providers of the software application used to create these documents could engineer the document format to prevent or interfere with our ability to access the document contents with our search technology. This would mean that the document contents would not be included in our search results even if the contents were directly relevant to a search. These types of activities could assist our competitors or diminish the value of our search results.
If we fail to detect click fraud, we could lose the confidence of our advertisers, thereby causing our business to suffer. We are exposed to the risk of fraudulent clicks on our ads from a variety of potential sources. We have regularly refunded revenues that our advertisers have paid to us that were later attributed to click fraud, and we expect to do so in the future. Click fraud occurs when a person clicks on a Google AdWords ad displayed on a web site for a reason other than to view the underlying content. If we are unable to stop this fraudulent activity, these refunds may increase. If we find new evidence of past fraudulent clicks we may issue refunds retroactively of amounts previously paid to our Google Network members. This would negatively affect our profitability, and these types of fraudulent activities could hurt our brand. If fraudulent clicks are not detected, the affected advertisers may experience a reduced return on their investment in our advertising programs because the fraudulent clicks will not lead to potential revenue for the advertisers. This could lead the advertisers to become dissatisfied with our advertising programs, which could lead to a loss of advertisers and revenues and potentially litigation.
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