Can Google Beat the Bears and Outperform in 2013?

With shares of Google now trading around $738.12, is (NASDAQ:GOOG) an OUTPERFORM, a WAIT AND SEE, or a STAY AWAY? Let’s analyze the stock with the relevant sections of our CHEAT SHEET investing framework:

H = High Quality PipelineGoogle Compute Engine

Google’s product pipeline is both well-known and a little wonky. The company is the undisputed king of search – although Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) search and Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) Bing are by no means dead – and it has a solid line-up of software offerings including Mail, Maps and Drive, and the popular Chrome. YouTube alone is one of the most popular websites on the planet.

But these software offerings aren’t immune to usurpation: Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is pushing Maps (although a recent fiasco has played in Google’s favor), Microsoft Office is promising to enter the mobile-cloud arena with a fresh attitude, and online video platforms – like most tech – must constantly innovate in order to stay relevant.

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Mobile will continue to be the vector for growth for most companies. Google’s Android remains massively popular as the counter-balance to the Apple platform. Most, if not every, company will struggle to grok mobile moving ahead. But Google has demonstrated that it understands what it takes to change with the market in the past, and evidence suggests that it will remain a leading and dynamic company.

As reported by comScore for October 2012:

Share (as a percent) of smartphone subscribers
Company July 12 October 12 Difference
Google 52.2 53.6 1.4
Apple 33.4 34.3 0.9
RIM 9.5 7.8 -1.7
Microsoft 3.6 3.2 -0.4


Highlighting its mobile success: just one year ago, Google’s mobile advertisement run rate was $2.5 billion. On the most recent earnings call, CEO Larry Page put the new run rate for mobile business at $8 billion per year.