Google might not like to talk about how much money they're making off of Android, their mobile OS, but US judge William Alsup didn't have any problem doing just that yesterday. Reading from an internal Google document, Alsup revealed that Android lost money during every quarter of 2010, all in all presenting a 'big loss for the whole year,' according to Reuters.
The revelation came during Oracle's lawsuit against Google. Oracle accuses Google of infringing on their patents and trademarks involving Java. And even though Oracle says that how much money Google is or isn't making on Android shouldn't have any bearing on how much money they are or are not awarded for damages, the jury might beg to differ.
More importantly, though, this little nugget raises the question of exactly where Google's mobile business is taking it. While competitors like Apple and Microsoft make their money by selling hardware and software, Google's business model revolves around encouraging more use of their existing web services and advertising, with earnings coming from app sales being minuscule at best.
So, exactly how much money is Google losing here? The documents didn't exactly reveal all of the numbers, but it does say that Android revenues for 2010 were $97.7 million, so obviously Google lost at least that much. Another document (via The Verge) revealed during the case says that Google expected to lose about $113 million in Android in 2010. But by now, according to the same document, Google should be making around $248 million on Android, and $548 by next year.
So, are they? Who knows. So far, Google hasn't been very forthcoming when it comes to Android financials, and unless those numbers get really impressive, or they slip out during a trial, that's probably not gonna change. What we do know is that it's a lot harder to come up with financials for a product that relies a business model like Android's than it is for a more traditional model, like Apple's. For the most part, any money Google makes from Android will be indirect, and it'll take a broader look at the companies financials to see if that's really paying off.