Walt Mossberg on Digital Rights Management
Saddam Hussein's Nuclear Weapons

Yet More Dingbat Kabuki!

This time from Kevin Delaney of the Wall Street Journal:

WSJ.com - Google's Profit Jumps Sevenfold : Efficiency Improvements, Market-Share Gains Extend Company's Winning Streak. By KEVIN J. DELANEY. Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL. October 21, 2005; Page A3: Google Inc. said third-quarter profit rose more than sevenfold and revenue roughly doubled, blowing past investor expectations and sending its shares surging more than 11% in morning trading Friday.... The third-quarter results extend the Web-search company's streak of stronger-than-expected quarterly performance since its initial public offering in August 2004, and underlined its continued success in gaining market share and improving the efficiency of its online advertising systems.

Google posted net income of $381 million, or $1.32 a share, up from $52 million, or 19 cents a share, a year earlier.

The 2004 third quarter included a $201 million expense related to the resolution of two disputes with rival Yahoo Inc.

Oh.

So, excluding nonrecurring charges, Google earned $253 million in the third quarter of 2004? And so, excluding nonrecurring charges, Google's earnings have grown 50% in the past year--not the 600% headline number?

What function does the headliine and the claim of "seven-fold" serve, other than to mislead readers who simply scan the headliine and the first paragraph?

As one Washington hand told me last week: "I simply cannot afford to read the newspapers anymore. I might remember something they print, forget where it came from, and so believe it."

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