Google is an analyst's nightmare

The cocaine nose jobs of Wall Street are starting to get a little concerned about Google’s move into hardware.

Analysts like companies which are easy to predict, so that they can look at the numbers and decide where they are going with ease.

However when Google announces its numbers on Thursday, there are more than a few analysts who do not want to have a stab at it.

For a start they will have to factor in a $12.5 billion acquisition of smartphone maker Motorola which is a little messy.

Even the fact that Chief Executive Larry Page has been sick is making things hard to work out.

But what is really driving the analysts nuts is its expansion into the hardware business, where margins are low and competition is tough.

Last week Google launched the Nexus 7 tablet in partnership with Taiwan’s Asustek and released the first Google-designed and manufactured consumer electronics device, dubbed the Nexus Q.

While the hardware appears to be selling well, that is not enough for Wall Street which wants to hear Google’s hardware plans.

It is making its hardware push  when its core Web search advertising business is suffering.

Of course they all think that it is due to lower rate mobile phone advertising eating into the numbers because they have been told that by Apple, but it is more likely to be to do with the economic slow down in Europe and the US. Advertising, in any media, always tanks during an economic crisis.

Google has said very little about its plans for Motorola since the deal closed.

Motorola’s hardware business includes factories in China, Taiwan and Brazil for building phones and television set-top boxes and does not really fit with Google’s high-profit-margin Internet business. It also lost $86 million.

Needham & Co analyst Kerry Rice told Reuters that the mobile phone business is volatile and a company’s fortunes can quickly change with one successful or unsuccessful product.

However Google is the king of search and it is running a nice stable and predictable business. Mobile is one where it is not a leader.

Rice said that bits of Google are starting to act a lot more like a semiconductor company which has a lot of fixed costs to absorb.

Analysts, on average, estimate that Google’s traditional business generated net revenue of $8.44 billion in the second quarter.

That is up 22 percent year-on-year. But some analysts caution that there is a possibility that figure has been inflated by the inclusion of Motorola revenues.

As a result some analysts are chucking down their pencils and saying that including a month and a half of Motorola results is too tricky and they need to focus on Google’s core when it comes to predictions.

Google itself sees the problem and is breaking out its results for its traditional business, Motorola’s mobile business and Motorola’s set-top box business.

But there are other things which make Google difficult to predict.

Sanford Bernstein & Co analyst Carlos Kirjner has already warned that Google’s second-quarter net revenue could be as low as $7.83 billion due to the impact of foreign-exchange rates and a rise in the traffic acquisition costs that Google pays to partner websites.

All up it is making Thursday’s announcement too difficult to call and Wall Street does not like that sort of thing.