Google writes down Clearwire investment, confident about Android

Google posted solid fourth quarter results after the markets closed yesterday, but was primarily hurt by a write down related to investments in AOL and Clearwire. The Internet search giant also said it remained confident about the progress of its Android mobile operating system.

Google reported a net income of $382 million, down 68 percent from the $1.21 billion in the year-ago period, but that was primarily due to write downs of its investments in AOL and Clearwire by $726 million and $355 million, respectively. Google, along with Intel, Comcast, Time Warner, Brighthouse and others invested $3.2 billion in the new Clearwire.

"Both deals made sense to us then and make sense to us now, and continue to be a strategic part of our overall business philosophy," Google CEO Eric Schmidt said on the company's earnings conference call.

Google also expressed support for its Android platform, even though it only has limited support among U.S. wireless carriers. T-Mobile USA is the only carrier that supports an Android-based handset, the HTC-made G1. Sprint Nextel will reportedly begin offering an Android handset in the first half of 2009.

"Well, we think the Android numbers will start to speak for themselves, particularly this year, now that we've got some additional partners signed up to get to the next generation from a hardware perspective on the platform," said Jonathan Rosenberg, Google's senior vice president for product management. "So we are very optimistic about Android."  

For more:
- see this article on Google's profits
- see this article
- see this post

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