SAN FRANCISCO — Google’s first-quarter earnings growth faltered as the Internet’s most influential company grappled with a persistent downturn in advertising prices while spending more money to hire employees and invest in daring ideas.
The results announced Wednesday fell below analyst projections. Google’s Class A stock shed $17.10, or 3 percent, to $546.80 in extended trading.
Although it remains among the world’s most profitable companies, Google Inc. is struggling to adjust to a shift away from desktop and laptop computers to smartphones and tablets.
The upheaval is lowering Google’s ad rates because so far marketers haven’t been willing to pay as much to pitch consumers who are squinting at the smaller screens on mobile devices.
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Google earned $3.45 billion, or $5.04 per share, in the quarter. That was up 3 percent from $3.3 billion, or $4.97 per share, last year.
If not for costs covering employee stock compensation and other one-time items, Google said it would have earned $6.27 per share.