Google revenue down, Android can help

by Kristen Nicole

Google's revenue was lower than expected during the final quarter of 2011, but some of the company’s other initiatives continue to grow and show promise. One of those initiatives is Android, Google’s mobile operating system that’s become a global, unstoppable force. Google CEO Larry Page revealed that over 250 million Android devices have been activated worldwide, with more than 11 billion apps downloaded from the Android Market. That’s an increase of 50 million activations since November, and just weeks after Google celebrated 10 billion app downloads in December with a 10-day sale.

Though Google delivered some of their first disappointing quarterly results in a while, with ad prices and shares dropping in a weakened market, the company looks to outlets like Android and Google+ to grow and maintain dominance in mobile and personalized search. Google reported net revenues of $8.13 billion, less than Wells Fargo’s pessimistic prediction of $8.31 billion. Google’s per-click rate is down 8 percent, and the amount Google pays to its partners to acquire this traffic is up 18 percent. Some say Google’s push for improved searches has affected its cost-per-click numbers.

Lawsuits are telling of Android’s true costs

One thing we don’t get to hear during Google’s earnings call is Android revenue, though a recent report from Oracle offers some insight as to the value behind Google’s mobile ecosystem. Android could be worth $10 million annually in mobile ad revenues, totaling $3.65 billion a year overall, according to Oracle. The figures come from Oracle’s latest submission to the court in conjunction with its ongoing lawsuit against Google. That’s not including direct revenues earned from the Android Market. And without Google revealing any numbers itself, there’s no way to fully confirm Oracle’s figures, especially since they’re not saying how they reached this conclusion either. However, free and open source software advocate Florian Muller guesses that Oracle’s assuming $14 of ad revenue per Android user, per year.

While Oracle drums up more headlines while their case against Google awaits trial, a German court has ruled against Samsung in a patent suit against Apple. The latest update in this ongoing battle pertains to the 13 patents currently in question in Germany, though the ruling only relates to one of these patents. This particular case covers three mobile technology patents Samsung claims Apple’s infringed, and the German court will decide on the other two patents later this month and in March. Samsung is disappointed with the German court’s rulings, but has not said whether it will make an appeal.