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Can Google Parent Alphabet Reignite Revenue Growth When It Reports Earnings?

Danny Vena, The Motley Fool

Alphabet (NASDAQ: GOOGL) (NASDAQ: GOOG), the corporate parent of search giant Google, is among the host of companies getting ready to kick off earnings season in the coming weeks. The company is scheduled to release its second-quarter financial report after the market closes on Thursday, July 25.

While Alphabet reported better-than-expected profitability in Q1, a one-two punch of decelerating revenue growth and sinking profit margin gave investors pause, sending the stock falling more than 7% on the day following its report.

Can Alphabet regain some positive momentum in the second quarter? Ahead of its upcoming financial release, here are a few areas worth keeping an eye on.

Building with the Google logo lit up at night.

Image source: Google.

Revenue growth

Alphabet's first-quarter revenue rose 17% year over year, but that was something of a letdown, given that it was $1 billion below expectations and slower than the 26% revenue growth it generated in the prior-year quarter. The biggest disappointment was the slowdown in sales on Google's search platform, which grew just 15% year over year, down from 24%.

Management doesn't provide quarterly guidance, but for the second quarter, analysts' consensus estimates are calling for revenue of $38.18 billion, up 17% year over year -- similar to its performance last quarter -- so they're not really going out on a limb with that forecast.

Other revenue and cloud

Alphabet's results did get a boost from Google's "other revenue," which includes high-growth segments cloud computing, the app store, and hardware sales. The segment grew 25% year over year. Though this was down from 36% growth in the prior-year quarter. It's worth noting that Google is investing heavily in its cloud computing operations and has moved into the top tier among cloud providers. During the Q1 conference call, Alphabet CFO Ruth Porat noted that within its growing operating expenses, "The biggest increase was in [research and development] expenses, with headcount growth in Cloud as the largest driver."

Another area to watch is Alphabet's "other bets," including its self-driving-car segment Waymo, Google Fiber, life-sciences division Verily, drone unit Wing, and balloon segment Loon. Each of these businesses has graduated from the conceptual stage and are eventually expected to be moneymakers for Alphabet.

It's also important to note that with decelerating revenue from ad sales, these high-growth businesses are becoming an increasingly important part of Alphabet's future growth plans.

Antitrust spotlight

Google is among a number of technology companies that have caught the gaze of U.S. antitrust regulators. In recent months, reports emerged that the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission have been working out jurisdictional issues to determine which agency would pursue antitrust investigations against a number of high-profile tech companies, including Google.

The search division was hit earlier this year with a 1.49 billion-euro fine (about $1.7 billion) from the European Commission, the legislative arm of the European Union. The regulatory body alleged that Google abused its dominant position to forbid AdSense customers from advertising with competing search platforms. That marked the third EU fine in as many years. Google said it plans to appeal. Investors should be on the lookout for updates regarding the company's antitrust difficulties.

Alphabet is scheduled to report earnings after the market closes on Thursday, July 25.

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Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Danny Vena owns shares of Alphabet (A shares). The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Alphabet (A shares) and Alphabet (C shares). The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.