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Alphabet and Google’s ‘Other Bets’ lost $3.6 billion in 2015

The first full quarter of Google as an Alphabet company is complete and with that comes some interesting nuggets of information within the corresponding financial report.

Specifically, we now have our first real indication of how much money Alphabet is sinking into its experimental and research-based projects, outside of the core Google business.

These so called “Other Bets,” ran at a loss of approximately $3.57 billion in 2015, the report reveals.

Those bets include the likes of Google X, Nest, the self-driving car team, the Verily life sciences company as well as Google Fiber internet and the research group Calico. The Ventures investment arm is also bundled into this category.

The losses aren’t exactly surprising considering so much cash is committed to research and experimentation yet to bear fruit. However, it does offer the first quantifiable evidence of just how committed Google is to these causes. Previously this information had been hidden under the Google banner.

One of the key aims of the new structure at Alphabet is to turn more of these moonshots into viable profitable businesses, but naturally, this will not be reflected at such an early stage.

What is Alphabet? Google’s parent company explained

Of course losses such as these are only possible thanks to the continuing juggernaut that is Google itself. Overall, Alphabet made $4.9 billion on $21.3 billion in revenue during the last quarter.

Meanwhile, over the course of 2015 Alphabet earned $23.4 billion on revenue of $74.5bn (only $448m of that was through the Other Bets).

“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,” said Ruth Porat, CFO of Alphabet.

As a result of this Alphabet has – temporarily at least – surpassed Apple as the world’s most valuable company. After hours trading gave Google a market cap of $560 billion, while Apple closed at $538 billion.

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