This is my favorite Google number to watch. When you look back at the last four annual reports, the "other revenues" segment is soaring -- and last year, it proved it's becoming an even bigger piece of the pie.
"Other" revenue in 2009: $762 million, or 3.2% of $23.65 billion in total revenue
"Other" revenue in 2010: $1.09 billion, or 3.7% of $29.32 billion in total revenue
"Other" revenue in 2011: $1.37 billion, or 3.6% of $37.9 billion in total revenue
"Other" revenue in 2012: $2.35 billion, or 4.7% of $50.18 billion in total revenue
His focus on "other" revenue helps us understand the two most important parts of Google's story as well as the notion that it's better positioned for the long-term than Apple (AAPL - Get Report), Yahoo! (YHOO - Get Report) and Microsoft (MSFT - Get Report) combined. In fact, Apple could satisfy the wildest urges of blogger and commenter critics, buy out both Yahoo! and Microsoft and this would still be the case.
And it's not directly because of Google's Android mobile market share or the Chromebooks it gets suckers such as Hewlett-Packard (HPQ - Get Report) to produce for two-, three-hundred dollars a pop. It's not directly about search either.
It's about content. Google has a content advantage on so many levels. More smoothly than any other ecosystem, Google platforms funnel users to Google content which leads to advertising dollars. Google does content discovery -- experienced via search, YouTube and other channels -- better than anybody else.Google does not let the massive opportunities it has for "other" revenue growth distract it from its bread and butter. You absolutely cannot say the same, from practically any standpoint imaginable, about Apple, Yahoo!, Microsoft and certainly not Hewlett-Packard. As discussed Friday afternoon on CNN's "The Lead with Jake Tapper", Google has the content that translates into engaged eyeballs attached to brains and fingertips that click on more than their fair share of ads and watch loads of 15-30 spots prior to a YouTube video or some such. Large scale stuff like movies and live streams of concerts all the way to the niche content that put YouTube on the map. The stuff cable television can't afford to touch. Cat videos. Backyard brawls. Zits popping. You name it. Heck, my daughter watches tutorials on how to make items such as wallets out of duct tape. She has learned to play several Taylor Swift and One Direction songs by watching YouTube videos. Google can effectively monetize these and other subcultures; traditional television cannot. I wouldn't merely argue -- I know -- that if anybody's disrupting traditional models, it's Google, not Netflix (NFLX) or any of the other straightforward third-party streamers.