Android was launched by Google in 2008 and is an operating system which is based on Linux, and is designed primarily for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. The user interface is based around movements which correspond to real-world actions, such as swiping, tapping and various other touchscreen features. The system has become very popular worldwide as an operating system for mobile devices, and has, according to Oracle, generated a lot of profit for Google since its inauguration in 2008.
Oracle’s Analysis of Google Android Revenue
During their ongoing legal battle with Google Inc over Android, Oracle decided to make the revenue amounts of Google Android public. Oracle Corp have analysed that Google Android not only generates $31 billion in revenue, but also that $22 billion of this is, in fact, profit. A lawyer from Oracle Corp disclosed these figures on January 14th, 2016, and Google themselves maintain that the figures should not have been made public; it remains unclear why personnel from Oracle have decided to make these numbers available to the public. The figures were released without Google’s consent, during the lawsuit brought by Oracle (owners of Java) against Google, for their use of Java technology within the Android operating system without licensing agreement.
The Oracle Attorney, Annette Hurst, told the Federal Magistrate Judge in a discussion of Android revenue and profit:
The spokeswoman for Oracle, Deborah Hellinger, has declined to comment on any disclosures which were made during the court hearing. It is understood that the analysis of Google Android revenue and profit was made using Oracle research and data methodology, which has not been made public. On the 20th of January, Google requested that the Federal Judge redact and also seal the financial information, which it said should not have been made public and was only for the eyes of the Attorney and the Judge in the case.
The company commented on the revelations about its revenue from Google Android:
About the Google Inc. Vs Oracle America Inc. Lawsuit
Oracle America Inc. v. Google Inc., 10-cv-03561, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco)
The lawsuit between Google and Oracle America, which gave rise to the former’s revenue information being revealed, centers on Oracle claiming that Google infringed patents it held over Java when it used the programming language to develop Google Android. Java was originally developed in 1991 by Sun Microsystems: it included, as well as a new programming language, a virtual machine, and a set of libraries for use within the language.
Android was first developed in 2003, and purchased by Google in 2005; from its inauguration, it included some elements of Java, such as Apache Harmony implementations and some APIs. Though Google did negotiate with Sun about a partnership over Java, no agreement was reached. Then, in 2010, Oracle America purchased Sun, and therefore Java; they continued discussing possible licensing options with Google, but after no agreement was reached, Oracle sued Google for copyright and patent infringement in 2010. This has led to a series of lawsuits between the two, of which we are now seeing the latest.
Other Developments From Google Android
The Android operating system has also seen various other developments by Google within this vein: they have worked on Android TV for televisions, Android Auto for cars, and also Android Wear, which is specifically designed for wrist watches. Android TV can be used on most televisions, and is a system designed to make the TV work as a smart TV; it creates an interactive television experience, and allows users to download apps from the Google Play Store, and also use media streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu, or to play games.
Android Auto is a convenient development which allows users to operate their smartphones through their car’s dashboard. It was introduced in August 2014, and offers GPS navigation as well as SMS and music playing services. Android Wear is a further development in Google’s work to open up more and more areas to the use of smart technology: it integrates Google Now, and mobile notifications, into the user’s wristwatch, meaning they can keep up to date with messages when they are on the go. Whilst Google Android is most notably known for its interface on smartphone and tablets, these other developments might be part of the reason it has generated such revenue.
Though these figures will be of interest to many within the industry, and those observing, due to Google’s request for the financial documents to be sealed, it is unlikely any more details of their finances will come to light. With all the developments Google has made into smart technology, these profits may only increase. Only time will tell if this is the case, and also if Oracle will continue to pursue their legal action against Google for the use of Java within the Google Android operating system.