Report: Google earns four times more revenue from iOS than Android

By on March 30, 2012, 11:04 AM

Google may not directly benefit from offering the Android operating system to phone vendors for free, but mobile devices are an important -- if still relatively small -- part of its revenue stream. The company expects to earn some $2.5 billion on mobile this year from advertising and its 30% cut on app sales through Google Play (formerly Android Market). However, it seems very little of this revenue actually comes from Android.

According to figures presented by Google as part of a settlement offer with Oracle in a patent and copyright infringement case, Android devices generated less than $550 million in revenues between 2008 and the end of 2011. We should note that Google previously declared a $1 billion run rate for mobile revenues in just 2011, so $550 million spread across four years suggests Android contributed little towards that number.

With roughly 200 million Android devices having been activated to the end of 2011, including an estimated 90 million during the past two years, The Guardian estimates that Google derives slightly more than $10 per Android handset per year. The rest of the money apparently comes in thanks to Google’s deal with Apple, in place since the original iPhone launched in 2007, through which it provides maps and the default search engine to some 315 million iOS devices sold so far -- nearly half of those were sold in the past year.

If accurate, that means Google is making four times as much revenue through iOS than with its own ecosystem. Though selling mobile ads is all that matters for Google's business in the end, its reliance on Apple is worrying considering how the relationship between the two has gone sour in recent years.

Apple appears to be slowly distancing itself from Google services. It's reportedly developing its own maps services and recently added add Baidu to the search engines available as options to Chinese iPhones. Moreover, although Siri usage hasn't exploded so far, it also has the potential to cut down the volume of Google searches done through the iPhone's browser, affecting mobile advertising revenue as a result.

This highlights the complex mixture of revenue streams for mobile platform players. It's no secret that Microsoft makes more money from Android than it own Windows Phone, thanks to its patent portfolio.




User Comments: 5

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Guest said:

"It's no secret that Microsoft makes more money from Android than it own Windows Phone, thanks to its shady patent trolling lawyers." - fixed that for you. ;)

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

If they were shady no one would be paying a penny to MS, on the other hand, it proves one thing, Google stole every patent they could (along with all the design elements) to make android work (or rather imitate) like iOS. By the way it is not just MS they need to pay royalty for patents ...

Det Det said:

Archean said:

If they were shady no one would be paying a penny to MS, on the other hand, it proves one thing, Google stole every patent they could (along with all the design elements) to make android work (or rather imitate) like iOS. By the way it is not just MS they need to pay royalty for patents ...

You couldn't possibly be more wrong.

Guest said:

@Archean: I can't tell if you're just trolling or if you literally have no idea what you're talking about.

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Do a little research and you will know what I mean, I form my opinion based upon my own experience + lots of readings from different sources, and you will be surprised how many people think Android is a copycat of iOS. Regarding patent troubles, why all manufacturer's end up paying to patent holders, have you ever put some effort and time thinking about it? I doubt it very much, so before you decide to utter something, make sure it is useful.

Here are some quotes for you:

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(I'll add after ICS it is not behind iOS by that much but security and stability issues remain, but anyway)

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To sum up where iOS + Android + WP are:

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I have extensively used iOS + Android + WP devices, and each have its own advantages, but when it comes to reliability + stability & performance, my experience tells me that android should always be my last choice in this respect. Although as others has noted "Android is the windows for mobile phones, crappy but successful".

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