Google CapEx Continues To Trend Lower

Google (GOOG) spent $263 million on its infrastructure in the first three months of 2008, the lowest quarterly total since it began operating its own data centers, as it continued in cash conservation mode. The first quarter capital expenditure (CapEx) total, which was included in today’s earnings release, was less than a third of the $842 million Google spent on its data centers in the same quarter in 2008.  Here’s a look at the recent trend:  


  • 1Q 2006: $345 million
  • 2Q 2006: $699 million
  • 3Q 2006: $492 million
  • 4Q 2006: $367 million
  • 1Q 2007: $597 million
  • 2Q 2007: $575 million
  • 3Q 2007: $553 million
  • 4Q 2007: $678 million
  • 1Q 2008: $842 million
  • 2Q 2008: $698 million
  • 3Q 2008: $452 million
  • 4Q 2008:$368 million
  • 1Q 2009: $263 million

This was the fourth consecutive quarter in which Google’s infrastructure spending has declined. The capex “breather” has been enabled by the company’s building boom in 2007-08, during which it announced major data center construction projects in four U.S. markets.

That investment provided Google with plenty of data center capacity. After the economic meltdown gripped Wall Street last fall, Google throttled back spending even further, opting to delay constructionof its data center in Pryor, Oklahoma. Google says it remains committed to the Pryor site and expects to complete the facilty in the next 12 to 18 months.

Google continues to build in other markets. The company is expected to set an opening date for its facility in Council Bluffs, Iowa within the next several months. In March Google confirmed plans to build a major data center at a former paper mill in Finland, having paid $51 million in February to purchase the property.

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About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor at large of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.

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