Google takes a bite out of Apple after announcing high revenue growth
Google is set to overtake Apple as the most valuable company in the world after announcing its financial results for the last three months of 2015.
The internet giant beat analyst expectations by reporting revenue of 21.3 billion US dollars (£14.7bn) for the final quarter of last year, up from 18.1 billion US dollars (£12.5bn) on the same period last year. The announcement saw the company's share price to rise by more than 9% in after-hours trading, taking Google's value above that of Apple.
Ruth Porat, chief financial officer of Google's parent company Alphabet said: "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.
"We're excited about the opportunities we have across Google and Other Bets to use technology to improve the lives of billions of people."
Google reported a rise in profit to 4.9 billion US dollars (£3.4bn), up from 4.7 billion (£3.2bn) in the same period last year.
According to analysts, the spike in Google's share price gives the company a potential estimated value of 558 billion US dollars, with Apple currently revalued at around 534 billion. The company will need to confirm the lead when the markets reopen on Tuesday.
The figures released by Alphabet, the new parent company that was formed above Google last year, show that the technology giant saw operating income rise to 23.4 billion US dollars (£16.2bn) for the year, up from 19 billion (£13.1bn) in 2014.
The figures come as the firm is in the midst of a row over the amount of tax it pays in the UK. The company has agreed to pay the Treasury £130m in back taxes and interest dating back the previous decade, but has been criticised over the amount.
Paid Clicks, the money Google makes from users clicking on adverts also rose by 31% in the final quarter of 2015 compared to the previous year, with the Google aspect of the Alphabet business accounting for 99.3% of revenue in the fourth quarter.
The Other Bets part of the business, which includes the company's futuristic project such as self-driving cars and internet signal-carrying weather balloons reported an operating loss for the year of 3.6 billion US dollars (£2.5bn).
The firm made no mention of the company's UK tax bill in the results.
Google chief executive Sundar Pichai also confirmed that the company's own-brand email service, Gmail, had surpassed one billion users for the first time.
Messaging service WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook, today confirmed that it too has reached one billion users.