Alphabet’s experimental Other Bets division lost $3.6 billion in 2015, but that’s okay

Patrick O'Rourke

February 2, 2016 12:04pm

Alphabet, Google’s parent company, lost a significant amount of money on “moonshot” concepts like self-driving cars and hot air balloons last quarter, but given the company’s impressive recent financial results – topping $21 billion USD, an 18 percent increase over last year – not making profit on forward thinking projects isn’t a concern for the tech giant.

For the first time, Alphabet separated what it calls “Other Bets” from the rest of the company’s financials, giving us an in-depth look at how its speculative projects – Google Fiber, Nest, X and even its self driving car efforts – actually fare financially.

Alphabet lost nearly $3.6 billion USD in 2015 on its Other Bets moonshot projects, a number that’s considerably worse than 2014’s $1.9 billion USD in loses on the same projects.

The company is in no hurry to figure out if these experimental projects are viable, with advertising revenue coming in at $19 billion USD a quarter, Google has money to blow on figuring out the future of the technology industry.

Related reading: Google Q4 revenue soars on higher mobile ad earnings

  • You might also want to mention that Alphabet last night in after hours trading Surpassed Apple as the richest company. Last night Google was worth $547.1 billion while Apple was in second with a mere $529.3 billion I don’t think Google is worried about a few billion lost to RnD 🙂

    • Everyone is bias, it is impossible to not be!

  • Mo Dabbas

    That’s because when you experiment you loose money. That’s why any research facility needs money. Eventually one or two of those idea that cost money will come into production and payoff the loss.

    • Exactly. Good is cool to lose millions on these experimental projects because they have money to burn.

    • MassDeduction

      They “loose” money? Fly little money, fly! 😉

      All kidding aside, I agree. Alphabet could spend that money, never develop a single product, yet still have it be worth it if they develop patents that later pay off due to the work of others that licence them.

  • The fibe is costing them a lot of money but that will have a huge pay off later when it finally becomes available to a majority of people.

    • Andrew_notPorC

      Indeed, Google has the potential to become a huge ISP, between not only their Fiber service, but also their Loon balloon project, as well as their new drone and low-orbit satellite proposals.

  • Is MapleSyrup a website about the maple syrup industry?

    • Mo Dabbas

      lol. good one.

    • espresso


  • demigod79

    Alphabet is probably the only technology company with the money and know-how to engage in these experimental products. They are putting their profits to good use doing really interesting things that could benefit a lot of people in the future (personally, I can’t wait for self-driving cars). Gotta love it.