Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Google Is Too Cheap

By Eric Jackson
RealMoney Contributor

5/18/2010 7:32 AM EDT
Click here for more stories by Eric Jackson

I've recently been critical about Google (GOOG - commentary - Trade Now). The company has made a number of missteps this year and hasn't really demonstrated much urgency in fixing things. However, the negative sentiment on Google is too high and the price is too low. Although I've had my complaints about the company and its lackadaisical culture, it's drifted too low for too long. I like Google as a good turnaround bet from here and intend to find the right entry in the next month or so.

There's no question that Google has had a difficult year. Its stock price is down 18% versus a 3% rise in the Nasdaq over the same period. It is not used to under-performing the benchmark.

A few weeks ago, Google announced it would be leaving China in a dispute over the information requested by the Chinese government. Since then, Baidu (BIDU - commentary - Trade Now) -- the top search player in China -- has seen its stock price surge 23%, and it has recently split the stock. Google's share price, meanwhile, has continued to slump.

Google's new mobile operating system, Android, has had difficulty attracting investors' attention since the start of the year, while everyone has been focused on Apple's (AAPL - commentary -Trade Now) successful iPad launch.

Since it became clear that the iPad would be a hit -- and would give iMac, iPhone and iPod users a new reason to rush out to the Apple Store to buy yet another gadget they can no longer live without -- most large mutual funds have been playing catch-up, buying up Apple shares. Google, amidst the iPad buzz, has been an afterthought.

Google is also losing talent. Its top salesman, Omid Khordestani, has retired. Android Senior Product Manager Erick Tseng just left Google to join Facebook's Mobile team. That suggests he saw bigger opportunity at Facebook Mobile.


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