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APPLES TO ANDROID

Apple generated more iPhone revenue in one quarter than Android reportedly has in its lifetime

Sundar Pichai, senior vice president of Android, Chrome and Apps, speaks during the Google I/O 2015 keynote presentation in San Francisco, Thursday, May 28, 2015. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
AP Photo/Jeff Chiu
How revealing.
By Alice Truong

Deputy editor

This article is more than 2 years old.

Android has generated $31 billion in revenue since Google acquired the mobile operating system in 2005, a lawyer for Oracle said in federal court amid an ongoing suit between the two tech giants.

Annette Hurst, an Oracle lawyer, said Jan. 14 that Alphabet, Google’s parent company, has made $22 billion in profit off of Android, reports Bloomberg. It’s unclear what period that profit is through. Oracle is suing Google for using its Java software in the development of Android, which launched in 2008, without paying for it.

The revelation is a rare glimpse into Android’s financials, which Google has long guarded along with the details of other divisions, such as YouTube. Oracle did not reveal how it calculated those figures.

If the numbers are accurate, that would mean Android has generated less revenue over its lifetime than the iPhone did in the quarter ended Sep. 30, the most recently reported quarter. Then, Apple said the iPhone generated $32.2 billion in sales.

Of course, this is an Apples-to-oranges comparison since Apple makes money off the sale of its hardware. Alphabet, meanwhile, makes money off its app store and Google advertisements shown on Android phones. (Apple’s $32.2 billion in iPhone revenue does not include sales from its app store, which is lumped into the “services” bucket in its earnings.)

The discrepancy does, however, highlight the fundamental differences between Google and Apple’s business models. Android owned 84.7% of the mobile operating system market share in the third quarter of 2015 compared with 13.1% for Apple’s iOS, according to Gartner.

Google has not confirmed the veracity of the figures and was not immediately available for comment. But the search company implored the judge to redact and seal part of the case’s public transcript, noting the information was “extremely sensitive” and that “public disclosure could have significant negative effects on Google’s business.”

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