Poll: Is Google Spreading Itself Too Thin?
I've often called Google a giant venture capital firm backed by the profits of its search advertising business, with good reason.
Google started as a search engine company when Larry Page and Sergey Brin founded the company in a Stanford University laboratory, but is now much more than that.
The Mountain View, Calif.-based firm is currently in the middle of acquiring Motorola Mobility(MMI) in an attempt to boost its gadget credentials. Google, thanks to its Android OS, competes with Apple(AAPL) and Research In Motion(RIMM) in the smartphone segment. There are also rumors the company is making its own tablet, possibly for a summer launch. Google's social network, Google+, is also trying to compete with Facebookand Twitter. The company even is testing out new eyewear, with its Project Glass initiative.
Google's attempt to be all things to all people has hardly benefited its shareholders recently. Since 2012 started, Google shares have lost 0.44%, compared to a 17.05% gain in the Nasdaq and a 55.4% gain in Apple. It's even under-performing "Google-clones", such as Baidu(BIDU) and Yandex(YNDX) .
When Google missed fourth-quarter earnings, TheStreet penned a piece debating whether investors should avoid Google stock. Since that time, Google shares have gained 9.89%, outpacing the 9.52% gain seen in the Nasdaq.