Alphabet Profits From Mobile as Valuation Overtakes Apple

February 3, 2016 - 3 minutes read

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – MAY 15: Larry Page, Google co-founder and CEO speaks during the opening keynote at the Google I/O developers conference at the Moscone Center on May 15, 2013 in San Francisco, California. Thousands are expected to attend the 2013 Google I/O developers conference that runs through May 17. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The past couple weeks have been huge for mobile app developers and the software industry in general as Alphabet published their earnings report for the past quarter, disclosing an unprecedented $21.3 billion in revenue. With Google under the Alphabet umbrella, it’s no surprise to Chicago mobile app developers that the company would exceed expectations. But setting a record for highest-value publically traded company in a year that’s seen industry pillars like Apple steadily declining in value? Now that was unexpected.

The media has been quick to point out the contrast between Alphabet and Apple in the past year, particularly as the two crossed paths in market capitalization — Apple on the way down, Alphabet on the way up, with mobile app development companies playing both sides in the middle. While Apple’s value has been heavily invested in hardware, Alphabet mostly spreads their investments across software and “intangible” services (think of all the left-field Google projects you’ve heard about in the past year). It’s a strategy that seems to be paying off as Apple still struggles to overcome conflicted public opinion while Google Adwords continues to grow profits in search advertising.

So far as ads go, the growth in mobile has been hugely beneficial to Alphabet — not to mention mobile app developers — and the driving force behind 2015’s 13-percent cost-per-click savings.

Not everything is rosy for Alphabet and the American mobile app industry, however, as unfavorable foreign exchange rates continue to wreak havoc in the industrial sector. Hardware companies are feeling the pinch more than mobile app developers, but even the tech industry isn’t completely safe from an unstable market. Industry experts estimate that Google lost approximately $1 billion in revenue the past year to currency exchange. Meanwhile, Apple attributed a staggering $5 billion revenue loss to the same cause.

The wrench in the machine here is Google’s relentless betting on high-risk bets like AI, self-driving cars, and Internet networks for third-world countries. It could be years before even the most promising of these ventures start to take off, translating to years of time for market forces to catch up with Alphabet’s rise. The question is, will mobile app developers and software companies be able to innovate fast enough to stay ahead of the game? If this year’s performance is any indicator, the answer is a resounding “yes.”

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