Up and down the internet you will read heated arguments from all corners arguing the merits of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS smart phones over Google’s Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android models. Surprising figures brought to light by the Guardian in the UK today gives us an interesting picture of who the iPhone’s biggest fan might be after all. Google, it seems, has earned four times as much revenue from the services it provides on the iPhone than it does from the services on Android models. This data is confusing and almost upsetting to those of us perplexed at Google’s odd strategies and decisions as of late. The numbers boil down to an estimated $10 per handset per year for Google’s Android a system it acquired and developed and offers to manufacturers at no cost.
The figures come from a settlement offer made by Google to Oracle before their impending patent suit takes off in earnest. The filings showed that Android Phones earned Google around $505 million for Google in the period 2008-2011. The iPhones use of Google’s services is thought to have brought over $2 billion into the company’s coffers. Android faces many problems but until now it didn’t seem like revenue was one. The OS’s lack of standardization leading to veritable zoo of different OSes under the Android name has been a big problem for consumers, particularly as manufacturers do not update consistently. The Android Zoo is not making Google enough money to justify its existence on revenue alone it seems.
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Google acquired Android Inc, then a less than two year old start up, in 2005 for around $50 million. Since then the company has poured millions into development and administration of the product as well as marketing and other acquisitions to support the software. With all of this behind them and a figure of $505 million in revenue it is questionable if the company has made any real profit off of the mobile platform at all.
The company has been making many missteps as of late that have called attention to a possible change in culture and direction at the firm. There have been many privacy concerns which the company seems loathe to discontinue while the company’s product seem to underwhelm critics and analysts. The idea that Android, the company’s apparently most successful venture in some time, may not even be profitable is interesting. The company which last decade seemed untouchable is now in a vulnerable state.