Google’s Android revenue, payout to Apple tantalizing but raise more questions

We’ve got some juicy numbers courtesy of the ongoing Oracle vs. Google fight over Android. Google, which doesn’t disclose how much it makes off Android, has reportedly brought in $31 billion in revenue and $22 billion in profit. And: In 2014, Google reportedly paid Apple $1 billion to be the default search engine on iPhones.

Those numbers come courtesy of a couple of Bloomberg News articles about court proceedings last week in Oracle’s long-running lawsuit against Google over its use of Java in Android. But the numbers raise more questions — the Bloomberg reports are based on a court transcript from last week that’s no longer available online. Both Google and Apple reportedly asked for the information to be sealed after an Oracle attorney uttered the numbers.

Android is the world’s most commonly used mobile operating system, but it’s open source and phone makers use it for free. Google makes money off ads, its app store and other services, but it’s hard to tell exactly what the numbers cited in court really mean.

For example, is the $31 billion revenue figure over Android’s lifetime? If so, some analysts think that’s a low number, according to the Wall Street Journal, which also cites another analyst estimate that pegs the revenue Google earned from Android — from ads and apps — from 2010 to 2015 at $45 billion. (Google bought Android in 2005 for a reported $50 million. Android rolled out for commercial use in 2008.)

Here’s another big number for comparison’s sake: The App Store of Android’s biggest competitor, Apple’s iOS, saw its customers spend $20 billion in 2015 alone, Apple said earlier this year. (Apple and Android get a 30 percent cut of what the app developers rake in.) We should note, though, that a recent report by App Annie estimates that Apple’s App Store made 75 percent more revenue than Android’s Google Play store in 2015.

As for Google supposedly paying Apple $1 billion in 2014 — a “steal”? — to keep its search engine the default in Apple’s iPhone, it’s an (expensive) reminder of the complicated relationship between the two tech giants — competitors whose reach is so vast that they can’t afford not to work with each other.


Updated above: Wording of how much Apple’s App Store brought in in 2015.

Photo: A person costumed as the Android operating system mascot stands at Google headquarters in Mountain View on April 25, 2013. (Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press)


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  • tjwolf

    “Apple’s iOS, brought in $20 billion in revenue in 2015 alone, Apple said earlier this year” – no they didn’t say that. They said that customers SPENT $20b. 70% of the money they spent goes to the producers of the software. Apple’s revenue was $6b.

    • bangblogadmin

      Good point. I reworded. Thanks.

    • levisu

      You’re right. I tweaked the wording. Thanks for pointing it out.

  • Bob Trikakis

    This is proof, outside of desktop ads, Google or Alphabet whatever we are suppose to call them these days just Android isn’t killing it when it comes to profits. I remember Dell bragging about their marketshare like Android. Android is the new Dell. Maybe Android, Dell and EMC should merge? Just saying