The fourth-largest company in the world based on market value, Alphabet Inc. is a company of superlatives in terms of reach and impact. It was established in 2015 as part of a corporate restructuring of Google and now acts as a parent and holding company for the global tech giant and many other companies previously owned by or tied to Google. In 2022, Alphabet generated over 282.83 billion U.S. dollars in annual revenue but saw its annual net income decrease from 76 million U.S. dollars in 2021, its highest value so far, to 59.9 billion U.S. dollars.
Google: a digital giant
Most of Alphabet’s revenue is generated through Google, the global search giant whose brand value reached 819 billion U.S. dollars in 2022. According to Alphabet, the Google segment includes the company’s main products, including ads, Android, Chrome, hardware, Google Cloud, Google Maps, Google Play, Search, and YouTube. In 2022, these avenues generated revenue of approximately 256.7 million U.S. dollars and thereby accounted for over 99 percent of Alphabet’s total annual revenue. But while Google remains the company’s key business and most relevant revenue stream, Alphabet also oversees diverse portfolio of other subsidiaries.
Collectively listed as Other Bets , this operating segment spans an array of early-stage businesses, from internet and TV services (Fiber aka Access), licensing and R&D services (Verily), autonomous driving technologies (Waymo), Nest-branded hardware, as well as capital investment funds via GV (Google Ventures) and CapitalG. As these products and technologies are mostly unrelated to Google’s core business, they were separated from the powerhouse’s primary operations in 2015 and contained under the roof of Alphabet instead. Revenue from Other Bets had been increasing steadily since 2016, and surpassing a billion U.S. dollars for the first time in 2022.
Innovation and AI
Many of Alphabet’s subsidiaries include earlier-stage technologies that are striving for innovation but also require a long-term view geared at long-term returns. Some of the segment’s main drivers of growth include health-tech firm Verily, Alphabet’s healthcare and disease prevention research unit, and autonomous vehicle technology firm Waymo. To fuel the development and success of its emerging businesses, the parent company spent over 39.5 billion U.S. dollars on research and development in 2022, almost 8 billion U.S. dollars more in comparison to the previous year.
Another crucial line of expenditure is allocated to lobbying the United States government. In 2022, Alphabet rounded out the top three internet lobbying spenders in the United States, having spent around 11.24 million U.S. dollars on lobbying activities during the year. Lobbying plays a crucial part in the tech heavyweight’s ongoing fight against wide-ranging scrutiny of its practices.
In recent years, lawmakers and regulators have increasingly weighed new antitrust and privacy rules to moderate the power of large internet service providers like Alphabet. As Google’s parent company was aptly named after the Latin term for “investment above benchmark” by their own accounts, its future advancements will undoubtedly remain in focus of public and political attention and criticism for years to come.
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