Data privacy drama can’t stop Google. Ad business soars 20%

New York (CNN Business)Google’s ad sales machine is still going strong even as regulators and consumers scrutinize the tech industry’s data-privacy practices. Alphabet’s operating margin fell to 21% for the quarter — a noteworthy dip from 24% a year ago. On a conference call with analysts Monday after the report, Alphabet’s CFO Ruth Porat noted that the company is investing “aggressively” in technical infrastructure and engineering talent to drive future growth in areas like cloud computing. The company added nearly 19,000 employees throughout 2018, ending the year with 98,771 employees total. Alphabet stock fell about 3% in after-hours trading Monday following the earnings report. The earnings report caps off what was a challenging end to 2018 for the company. In …