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The Apple Web community made much hay on Tuesday from a piece by The Guardian’s Charles Arthur claiming Android has generated just $550 million since 2008.

The figures [from Oracle’s patent suite against Google] also suggest that Apple devices such as the iPhone, which use products such as its Maps as well as Google Search in its Safari browser, generated more than four times as much revenue for Google as its own handsets in the same period.

Actually, if these numbers are right, it’s worse than that, as Arthur said in a response to the Macalope on Twitter. Google’s estimate of its mobile ad revenue run rate of $2.5 billion is annual, while the Android revenue figure of $550 million the Guardian claims is since 2008.

That is… low. Very low. Ridiculously, laughably low. Knee-slappingly, gut-bustingly, weapons-grade funny kind of low.

So low that the Macalope was having a hard time believing them. As it turns out, he wasn’t the only one. As Danny Sullivan notes (tip o’ the antlers to MG Siegler):

Maybe a key source is advertising revenue. But is that advertising revenue based on what appears within apps? Advertising revenue on what appears if people do a search on Google with an Android phone and click on an ad? What about if they search on Android with some other search engine and select an ad? Is that revenue that’s counted toward Android?

As much as the Macalope wants to point and laugh at these numbers—and believe him, he wants to very much—he’s inclined to agree with Sullivan. Something seems to be missing here.

Even if there is a missing chunk, though, it’s already been clear that Android is not the Tokyo-smashing cash monster the iPhone is. It’s not even baby Tokyo-smashing cash monster-sized.

Well, while it’s not winning in the revenue wars, it’s certainly winning converts in the tech press, right? Like Florence Ion.

“Why I Finally Switched [from Android] to the iPhone”

Uhhh, OK, not Florence. Well, what about long-time Android lover, Jason Perlow?

“I’m sick to death of Android”


Motorola has promised for months to update the balance of its 2011 and 2012 handset lineup to Ice Cream Sandwich, but has of yet failed to deliver any such updates except for on the Motorola Xoom tablet, which is a Google Experience and developer reference device.

And in the case of Samsung, there have been a number of bugfix iterations released for Ice Cream Sandwich by Google, none of which have been deployed to the Verizon Galaxy Nexus so far.

Who wants to deal with this?

Nobody. Which simply reinforces the idea that people who buy Android handsets are buying them as throwaway phones. They’re not investing in the platform, they’re buying the cheapest phone they can get. Android will probably continue to do well with these kinds of buyers, but it doesn’t do Google any good because at the end of the day, those aren’t the customers you want.

OK. OK. OK. But it’s still winning in market share!

Actually, there may be some evidence that, in the U.S. at least, Android’s lead is narrowing.

Among recent acquirers who got their smartphone within the last three months, 48 percent of those surveyed in February said they chose an Android and 43 percent bought an iPhone.

According to Nielsen, Android’s market share growth in the U.S. has stagnated while the iPhone’s has continued to creep up.

Still, though…


[Editors’ Note: In addition to being a mythical beast, the Macalope is not an employee of Macworld. As a result, the Macalope is always free to criticize any media organization. Even ours.]

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