With every quarter that goes by, the theme in the mobile landscape continues to be Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL ) iOS and Google (Nasdaq: GOOG ) Android gobbling up market share at the expense of just about everyone else.
With Google's primary incentive to pushing Android being all about building a moat around its advertising business, is it paying off?
Oracle's (Nasdaq: ORCL ) patent infringement lawsuit against Google is turning up some interesting tidbits found in the court documents. The Guardian recently played some numbers games with the digits included in Google's proposed settlement with Oracle, and its calculations imply that Android has contributed just $543 million in revenue to Big G between 2008 and 2011.
The report also estimates that Apple's iOS contributes 4 times more in mobile revenue for the search giant, thanks to its integration of various Google services, including Maps, YouTube, and default search.
In October, CEO Larry Page had said Google's annual mobile revenue run rate is up to $2.5 billion. That means Android contributes a pretty small chunk of the search giant's mobile ad revenues, and that iOS brings in more ad dollars.
Google doesn't break out specific numbers with Android-related revenue for investors, so we're left to speculate. The OS is distributed for free, and Google also doesn't keep anything from app sales, as Apple does, so it really is all about the ads.
I'm a little skeptical on The Guardian's exact calculations, since it seems the report is comparing its $543 million four-year estimate (which could be wrong) with Google's current annual mobile run rate to get the 4-times estimate, which isn't an appropriate comparison. That being said, I think it's entirely believable that iOS generates more ad revenue than Android, which is the more important underlying notion anyway.
So if Google makes more money off iOS-related ads than off Android, despite Android's taller market share, would Google simply be better off killing Android? Google could settle the score once and for all if it broke down the digits for us, but that'd be kind of like asking Amazon.com to give us a number on Kindle Fire sales.
Until then, it does seem that iOS is doing a better job of making Google money than Android is.
Even if Google's not making that much money on Android, component suppliers are. That's why you should check out this report on 3 Hidden Winners of the iPhone, iPad, and Android Revolution, since these companies are banking on both iOS and Android. It's 100% free.