Google’s infrastructure spending spree continues; $1.2B in Q1

Inside a Google data center. Image courtesy of Google

Google has stepped up its infrastructure spending once again, to the tune of $1.2 billion in the first quarter, according to its earnings report released on Thursday. That’s a 20 percent quarter-over-quarter increase, and the previous quarter’s $1.02 billion represented Google’s second-biggest quarterly investment ever.

There’s not much to say about this uptick in spending that hasn’t been said before. Essentially, Google has to keep on spending to keep its services running as well as possible and as efficiently as possible. Competing against Amazon, Facebook, Apple and Microsoft in everything from search to mobile to cloud computing costs a boatload of cash. Rolling out Google Fiber — soon to be in three cities — certainly isn’t cheap, either.

Apples-to-apples comparisons can be tough, because everyone’s businesses are different and decisions to build or buy new gear can affect expenditures, as can massive new headquarters. But here goes: In its fiscal third quarter earnings announced on Thursday, Microsoft claims it spent $930 million. Facebook, Apple and Amazon have not yet released their latest earnings, although both Apple and Amazon spent more than $2 billion on “property and equipment” in the previous quarter. Facebook spent $198 million and another $89 million leasing property and equipment.

This quarter’s $1.2 billion also represents a nearly 2x increase over last year’s first quarter infrastructure spending for Google.

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