How Google May Yet Again Go After Apple

Updated from 11:10 a.m. to include additional comments in the sixth paragraph.

SAN FRANCISCO (TheStreet) -- Google (GOOG) seems intent on attacking Apple (AAPL) from all angles, reportedly getting set to announce a set-top box similar to Apple TV and Amazon's (AMZN) recently announced Fire TV even if the device won't move the needle on revenue.

Google is reported to be launching its own set-top box, known as Android TV, entering an increasingly crowded field and one that it's already in, which makes the move all the more curious. Google currently sells Chromecast, a $35 dongle that is plugged into a HDMI output on a television, giving consumers access to software like Netflix (NFLX), Hulu Plus, YouTube, HBO Go, WATCHESPN, MLB.TV, and others. It even offers access to the Google Play Store, Google's answer to Apple's App Store, which has seen more than 75 billion downloads and counting.

Google's move comes at a time when smart TVs -- televisions that connect to the Internet -- are just starting to take off. Smart TV shipments represented approximately 39% of TV units shipped globally last year, up from roughly 25% in 2012, according to noted venture capitalist Mary Meeker, of venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

Google's senior vice president of Androids, Apps and Chrome, Sundar Pichai, made public comments about Chromecast during a keynote speech at South by Southwest, noting the company has sold "millions" of Chromecast devices without giving a specific number.

Last quarter, Google generated non-GAAP earnings of $6.27 a share on $12.19 billion in revenue, excluding traffic acquisition costs. Google site revenue of $10.47 billion rose 21% from last year's first quarter and accounted for 68% of Google's revenue.

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