You may have heard with some surprise that Google’s stock (NASDAQ: GOOG) price dropped a whopping 9% today—and that this drop came in response to what looked like a 20% decrease in quarterly income. Anybody heard news of Google struggling to make money when “paid clicks surged by 1/3 from a year ago, and 6% from the previous quarter”? What happened?

Here’s a hint: the company’s quarterly earnings report began with the phrase “PENDING LARRY QUOTE”. That’s Google CEO Larry Page; he was supposed to give a quote before the report went out–after the day’s final trading bell. Unfortunately, the unofficial statement appeared on the SEC website just after noon, inspiring what The Wall Street Journal’s Steve Russolillo describes as “mayhem”. We’ll call it a “premature release.”

Google quickly issued a follow-up statement blaming RR Donnelley, the company that prints its reports, for filing the earnings without authorization because, as mentioned above, the company wasn’t supposed to release the data until after the day’s trading ended. Whoops!

Read more