Google, Microsoft Look Past Desktop Computers To Increase Earnings

With ad sales soaring, Google posted a 16 percent increase in first quarter profits. Google earned more than $3.3 billion during the quarter. Another big player in the technology sector, Microsoft also posted positive earnings.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with a tale of two companies.

Google and Microsoft quarterly earnings reports are in and it appears their slugfest continues with Google's earnings up 23 percent and Microsoft up 18 percent. That is even as sales of desktop computers decline.

As NPR's Sonari Glinton reports, the future for both companies is on the small screen.

SONARI GLINTON, BYLINE: Here's a reality. Sales of personal computers are falling and that's having a dramatic effect on all things tech related.

GENE MUNSTER: Everyone is still going to have a computer but just the time spent on those computers is declining dramatically.

GLINTON: Gene Munster is a research analyst for Piper Jaffray. He says Google, which relies on advertising dollars, is learning some hard lessons.

ROB HELM: The shift to mobile has been somewhat difficult for Google because advertisers are wanting to pay more on desktop versus mobile and because mobile is so new, advertisers are a little bit apprehensive about spending as much on mobile as they have traditionally on desktop.

GLINTON: Rob Helm is a researcher with an independent outfit called Directions on Microsoft - which follows, yup, Microsoft. He says Microsoft is late to the smartphone tablet party and cloud computing, where Google has done well.

HELM: In both tablets and in cloud services, it's definitely a follower but it's a fast follower that's thinking very hard and benefiting from the mistakes of the people who went first.

GLINTON: Helm says Microsoft's future is to be, well, more like Google. But...

HELM: Microsoft is still much more Microsoft-like than it is Google-like...

GLINTON: While Microsoft remains profitable and still has a lot of money, Helms says it may not have enough time to catch up.

Sonari Glinton, NPR News.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And we're continuing to follow events in the Boston metropolitan area where police have been chasing a suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing. They were chasing two. One of those suspects has been killed, according to police. A second man, described as suspect number two, the man in the white hat, in images that were released yesterday, that man believed to be still at large. A third person was taken into custody by police, although that person's association with this incident is not clear at this time. And we have an additional detail which gives you a sense of the massive effort to make sure that this second suspect, this last suspect, does not get away. Boston authorities have shut down all transit service this morning, we're told. And we'll continue to bring you more on this story as we learn it.

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