Android revenue revealed: only $278m earned in 2010, app sales main “lowlight”

April 26, 2012

android dollars

The Google-Oracle trial that started more than a week ago after the two companies failed to reach a settlement over patent infringement claims is not only a legal titans’ clash with a very good chance of financially hurting Larry Page’s search giant, but also an information gold mine for us technology enthusiasts.

A slew of inside details about Google and Android are being revealed as proof in the legal battle and the most recent and interesting information leaked to the general public sheds some light on Android revenue numbers. As you might already know, Google has always been reluctant to announce exactly how much money is Android bringing in every year, which is why we all had to rely on bits and pieces, as well as rumors and speculations, when we talked about the mobile operating system’s financial success or failure.

A quarterly review presentation given on July 12, 2010 by Andy Rubin, former CEO of Android Inc., has been made public in the court, and, according to it, Google predicted that it would earn from Android $278.1 million, by the end of 2010.

The number has to be taken with a grain of salt (or a couple), given the fact that it was a projected estimate made with six months to go in 2010. It also has to be mentioned that, at the time of the presentation, there were only 20 million activated devices running Android, and there was almost no way to predict exactly how will the market grow.

On the other hand, the figure might be accurate after all, as we know that these kinds of projections are based on intensive research. If the number was in fact correct, it’s pretty obvious that Android wasn’t that profitable for Google a couple of years back, especially when talking about app sales.

Only $3.8 million of those $278.1 m were expected to be brought in by apps sold in the Android Market, which made Rubin list “Market: low rate of app purchases, policy issues” as the most important “lowlight” for Android.

Rubin’s 2010 presentation also included an income projection for 2012, when Google expected to gain $840.2 m from Android mobile ads and $35.9 m from apps sales. There’s no way to know if the forecast proved accurate, at least partially, and an official statement from Google brings no clarification on the matter.

“The discussions in the documents date from 2010 or earlier, so don’t represent current thinking about our business operations. Our industry continues to evolve incredibly fast and so do our aspirations for our various products and services” said Google earlier today in a response to The Verge’s article here.

The statement could be interpreted as Google’s subtle way of telling us that Android has well exceeded income projections from 2010, but, at the same time, it shouldn’t be taken for granted.

Getting back to the leaked 2010 presentation, there are a couple of other aspects that I found interesting. First of all, it is now confirmed that Apple’s iOS platform brought Google much more money than Android a couple of years ago (at least double, if we are to trust these figures). And secondly, Google had big plans for its music service back in the day, a service that should have brought the company no less than $1.5 billion in 2012 revenues.

It’s safe to assume that the real revenue figures from Google Music are in fact far off that projection, as the service is yet to gain traction in today’s technology market.

That’s about all I wanted to tell you about Android’s revenues today, but the Google-Oracle trial will go on for a while, so I wouldn’t be surprised if we would soon get additional details on the matter. Stay tuned on Android Authority and we will bring you all the Android news that matter!

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