The lawsuit between Oracle and Google is inadvertently revealing some confidential information about the companies. It has already been disclosed that Google paid Apple a $1 billion fee in 2014 to keep Google as the default search provider for iOS Safari, as well as a revenue sharing agreement where Google gives a substantial portion of the iPhone search ad revenue to Apple.
Another lawyer from Oracle has also stated that Google has generated $22 billion in profit and $31 billion in revenue from Android in its lifetime, via Bloomberg. Although any number in the billions is impressive, it pales in comparison to Apple’s mobile platform profiteering. As highlighted by Quartz, Apple made more revenue from the iPhone in one single quarter, raking in $32 billion dollars worth of iPhone sales from July – September.
Obviously, there are some qualifications which explain the huge discrepancies somewhat. Most notably, Google doesn’t really make or sell its own hardware. Almost all Android revenue is derived from the Google Play Store developer revenue share (like Apple, Google has a 70/30 split) or ads shown from Google’s phones. Apple’s highly successful hardware business is better stacked to give higher margins, and with higher margins comes higher profits.
So, whilst this figure is more symbolic than anything, it is significant in showing Apple’s success with the iPhone in general. Remember: Apple and Samsung are the only manufacturers to make money from smartphones. Everyone else consistently loses money. The risks associated with the hardware business go often overlooked, but Apple is reaping the rewards from its success.
Even looking at software sales numbers, Apple is close to Google’s numbers. Apple last announced the App Store had raked in $40 billion for developers. That means Apple generated at least $17 billion in revenue from App Store. Adding in partner deals like the $1bn Google Search arrangement, iOS’s software-only numbers are approximately half of those reported for Android, which relies on only software app sales and ads for its business model. It’s impressive however you slice it.