Tech News Roundup: Michael Dell is Back, Google & Comcast Profits Triple

Microsoft & Google Tech News

Google today released figures showing fourth-quarter profits that nearly tripled, mostly from advertising revenue. The company continues to pull away from rivals Yahoo and Microsoft in terms of profits from advertising. Interestingly enough, analysts and investors wanted more than the expected impressive results, citing the company’s new business ventures that may hurt profitability down the road. With no surprises and boring quotes from CEO Eric Schmidt (“What is the key to our success? I think it’s search.”), Google’s shares fell following the earnings report.

In related news, Comcast tripled its net income, proving that the “triple play” bundle of TV, phone and Internet service is what consumers want. But alas, investors wanted more yet again. Shares fell slightly following the news, as Wall Street was hoping for even better numbers.

But the numbers aren’t bad at all with Comcast adding 110,000 basic subscribers, the most for one quarter in years; a record 630,000 digital-cable subscribers in the quarter; 488,000 new high-speed Internet subscribers; and 422,000 Internet phone customers. The company now has 11.5 million Internet subscribers and 2.5 million phone customers.

And let’s now forget Dell, which decided to reinstate Michael Dell as CEO effective immediately. The company had previously announced restructuring under its “Dell 2.0” tag line. But so far, no one seems impressed. If Michael Dell turns the company around, we’ll have ourselves the latest case study for effective top-down management. Here’s the press release:

Dell Inc. announced today that Michael Dell will assume the duties of Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately. Mr. Dell, who will retain his duties as Chairman of the Board, will replace Kevin Rollins.

“The Board believes that Michael’s vision and leadership are critical to building Dell’s leadership in the technology industry for the long term,” said Samuel A. Nunn, presiding director of Dell’s Board. “There is no better person in the world to run Dell at this time than the man who created the Direct Model and who has built this company over the last 23 years.”

Michael Dell founded the company in 1984 with $1,000 and an unprecedented idea — to bypass the middleman and sell computer systems directly to the customer. He has served as the company’s Chairman of the Board, since its founding, and served as CEO until 2004.

“Dell has tremendous opportunities ahead of it,” said Mr. Dell. “I am enthusiastic about Dell 2.0, which includes our plan to provide the best customer experience, build a strong global services business and ensure our products deliver the best long-term customer value.”

Mr. Rollins has resigned, effective immediately, from his position as CEO and as a member of the Board of Directors.

“Kevin has been a great business partner and friend,” said Mr. Dell. “He has made significant contributions to our business over the past 10 years. I wish him much success in the future.”

In 1992, Mr. Dell became the youngest CEO ever of a Fortune 500 company. Mr. Dell serves on the Foundation Board of the World Economic Forum, the executive committee of the International Business Council and is a member of the U.S. Business Council.

The Company also said that it expects its fourth quarter Fiscal Year 2007 results to be below the average of First Call estimates for both revenue and earnings per share.”

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