It's not an interrogation, it's not an official inquiry, it's not even a press conference.
And that's why I was so unsatisfied with Google's (GOOG) call last night. Sure, the stock is very cheap, really at about 11.5x next year's earnings, so the risk isn't there.
It is also exciting. Say what you want, I read enough Twitter and talk to enough people that I know a 2-for-1 split does matter (even though it shouldn't). This stock is going to get some retail acclaim.
I also buy into the notion that they have been able to become less of a cost-per-click company, the key metric for so long (and which was down double digits), and much more display advertising -- far more lucrative, because it is totally unaccountable and therefore subject to much higher margins. Anything less rigorous in advertising actually costs more, not less, and has huge gross margins because it is relatively costless for a Google, especially with its largely computer-driven model and its free content model a la YouTube. They are monetizing YouTube in a way that makes it look like you could, at last, be the home of 100 channels with little to not content costs.
So what upsets me? No substantive questions about Motorola, for one. The earnings were made by a combination of revenue acceleration and a major decline in cap ex and less hiring. What happens after Motorola closes? How much overhead does that bring in? How can that be monetized? What is the strategy there? Good luck finding any answers on that call.
Nothing on mobile and how bad mobile will be for display. The company gave you about a minute on mobile, maybe less. It talked about offering a seamless package of display, display everywhere in the Google ecosystem. That's helpful ... except what does mobile do to the gross margins? The answer? Helps monetize Android. What's Android do? Helps monetize mobile. Thanks for that incredibly circular reasoning.
Or how about Facebook? Can we figure out a way to measure Google vs. Facebook? No one really tried, but with that deal looming it is someone's job to put it in perspective. Not Google's. But I wish it had somehow come up.
And then there is Apple (AAPL). Talk about looming. Apple was the massive elephant in the room that no one wanted to acknowledge.
So what do we fall back on? How about a cheap high-growth stock -- 25% growth could be the rubric -- that has a lot of opportunities and is going to figure them out?
That makes sense.
Which is why it is still a buy, only it's a buy with a lot of unanswered -- and, sadly, unasked -- questions.