Google and Oracle have been going against one another in court over Oracle’s insistence that Google should be paying royalties to the company for its use of Java software within the Android platform. A lawyer for Oracle Corp has crunched some numbers as part of the litigation and found that Android has generated revenue of $31 billion in its lifetime. $22 billion of that is pure profit for Google. Those figures actually sound quite impressive, that is until you dig a little deeper and compare that revenue to how much the iPhone generates for rival Apple Inc.
$22 billion in profit can be classified as a “healthy” figure for any company operating any platform. The numbers certainly show that Android is a worthwhile use of Google’s time. The released numbers were part of an in-depth analysis of Google’s financials by Oracle, which are generally something of a tightly guarded secret. According to Google, reiterated by a report on Bloomberg, the numbers can be classed as accurate as they were derived from Google’s own internal financial documents. But what about Apple and the iPhone? How much revenue does that generate?
After seeing the figures stated by Oracle’s lawyers, Quartz decided to do a little bit of further investigation and see how they compare to Apple’s iPhone. It turns out that Android has generated less revenue in its lifetime than Apple’s iPhone did in the quarter ending September 30, 2015. Apple’s own released financials show that the iPhone generated $32.2 billion in sales for that quarter alone. Assuming the numbers are close to being accurate, it’s a very interesting statistic to see. Not everything is as it seems though.
The numbers make for some good reading, and highlight just how profitable and popular the iPhone is for Apple, but it’s hardly a like-for-like comparison. Apple has managed to generate that $32.2 billion on the back of actually selling a physical premium product with high margins. Google’s estimated $31 billion in revenue comes from a cut of sales from the Google Play Store and advertisements that are shown on Android phones. Apple’s financial documents separates those like-for-like earnings out into a “services” listing.
Google is yet to officially confirm or deny the figures but did take the opportunity in court to ask the court to seal some of the transcripts from the case.