(San Francisco) Alphabet achieved more than $86 billion in revenue in the fourth quarter of 2023, a 13% increase from the previous year, returning to a level of growth that the parent company of Google and YouTube did not see since 2022.
The world’s number one in online advertising, which invests massively in artificial intelligence (AI), generated 20.7 billion euros in net profit, a value also higher than investors’ expectations, according to its quarterly results press release published Tuesday -fair.
Sundar Pichai, leader of the American group, said he was “pleased with the continued strength of online research and the growing contribution of YouTube and the cloud” (remote computing), guaranteeing in the press release that these two platforms “already benefit from (the ) investments and innovations” of the group “in terms of AI”.
YouTube generated revenues of $9.2 billion (+15.5% year-on-year) during the holiday season, particularly capitalizing on the broadcast of Sunday’s NFL football championship games in the United States.
The Californian group benefits from a favorable comparison with last year’s results. In the fourth quarter of 2022, Google and YouTube’s advertising revenues fell exceptionally year-on-year, and the cloud business disappointed the market.
In January 2023, in the wake of Amazon, Meta and Microsoft, Alphabet announced the era of frugality with a large-scale social plan: around 12 thousand positions eliminated worldwide, or just over 6% of its workforce. total work.
After a year marked by budgetary discipline, inflation, a historic antitrust trial and the race for generative AI, Google begins 2024 in a better position, even if it recently announced new job cuts, but on a smaller scale.
Sundar Pichai said he “had difficult decisions to make” to find ways to make significant investments, especially in artificial intelligence.
As of December 31, 2023, the company employed 182,502 people worldwide, 4% less than the previous year.
“This reorganization fits perfectly into Google’s advertising framework, which wants to double down on automation and AI,” noted Evelyn Mitchell-Wolf, an analyst at Insider Intelligence.
The rise of generative AI over the past year, thanks to the success of ChatGPT (OpenAI), has led to a frantic race to develop and deploy computer programs capable of producing text, sounds and images upon simple request in everyday language.
Google vs Microsoft
Thanks to its large investments in OpenAI, Microsoft has gained a head start in AI over Google, long considered a leader in cutting-edge applications of this technology.
The two competitors competed with new tools for individuals and companies, customers of their cloud services.
Google seeks to defend its still very dominant position in online search.
Bing, Microsoft’s search engine, hasn’t really gained ground, but the Redmond group, which controls almost half of OpenAI’s capital, is riding the wave of enthusiasm for generative AI.
Its market capitalization recently surpassed 3 billion dollars on the New York Stock Exchange, dethroning Apple as number one in the world.
But the generative AI craze also raises a lot of concern about numerous possible deviations. The European Union agreed unprecedented legislation in December to regulate AI.
And the American competition authority (FTC) has just launched an investigation into Microsoft’s huge investments in OpenAI, and those of Google and Amazon in a competing start-up, Anthropic.
The FTC fears that dominant IT groups will block this emerging market, as well as access to the resources needed for this technology that requires sophisticated electronic chips.