You may have run this story today. It reads something along the lines of, “iOS makes so much more money from Google ads than Google’s own Android operating system!” The various Apple blogs are having a field day with it, calling Android a “farce” or a “two-bit iOS clone” and suggesting that Google should drop it and continue to license their products to Apple or they may stop making money forever. I seriously didn’t just make that up, some of these sucker sites actually wrote that today.
So here is the deal. The Guardian took Google’s settlement offer to Oracle in their Java licensing dispute which is based off of a percentage of their mobile earnings and then calculated out how much money that they have made from 2008 to 2011 on Android. According to their math, it comes to somewhere around $543 million, however, their total mobile revenue is somewhere in the billions. This is where the flaming starts and Android competitors are getting all sorts of pleasure from. But there is only one problem, the amount of time involved in all of this. Let me explain.
The first iPhone was released in June of 2007, right? Since then, they have pumped out a new iDevice each year, including iPads and iPod Touches (yes, these are all calculated into mobile earnings). Android on the other hand, did not have a commercially available device until October of 2008 (that would be the end of the year). So then 2009 came and the first meaningful (as in, the first to sell in any volume) Android device aka the Motorola DROID was sold in November (again, at the end of the year). From there, we cruised into 2010 and some meaningful Android devices started to pop up towards the middle such as the DROID X, EVO 4G, etc. But it wasn’t until the end of 2010 and then 2011 that Android actually took off with a fury.
So by my math, you have almost 4.5 years of iDevices (iPhones, iPads, and iPods) creating revenue and really only about 1.5 years for Android (mostly phones and a few tablets). Sure, Android devices became available at the end of 2008, but none of them sold until the DROID at the end of 2009 and then a handful more towards the end of 2010. This comparison, at least in logistical terms, is garbage.
Now, if you were to somehow (and you won’t ever) find a way to compare iDevices to Android devices starting from a period of say 2011 to 2015 and they still show a clear money making advantage to Apple products, then by all means have a laugh. But comparing a product that was essentially in beta form for 2 years, and trying to include those in your numbers to a product in mass rollout is not by any means, fair. It makes absolutely no sense.
It certainly made for a fun headline though, didn’t it? “Two-bit iOS clone.” Hah, that made my day.