Android lost Google money throughout 2010

Google Inc’s Android mobile platform resulted in a net loss for the company in every quarter of 2010, despite generating roughly $97.7 million in revenue for the first quarter of that year, a U.S. judge said in court

By - May 4, 2012
Google

Google Inc’s Android mobile platform resulted in a net loss for the company in every quarter of 2010, despite generating roughly $97.7 million in revenue for the first quarter of that year, a U.S. judge said in court.

The discussion on Thursday of the finances of what has become the world’s leading mobile operating software in just four years came during a damages hearing in high stakes litigation between Oracle and Google over smartphone technology.

A jury is deliberating on Oracle’s allegation that Google, the top Internet search engine, violated its copyright to parts of the Java programming language. At the end of the day on Thursday, one juror sent out a note asking what would happen if they can’t reach a unanimous verdict.

In response, U.S. District Judge William Alsup sent the jury home for the day and asked them to continue deliberating on Friday.

Oracle sued Google in August 2010, saying Android infringes on its intellectual property rights to the Java programming language. Google says it does not violate Oracle’s patents and that Oracle cannot copyright certain parts of Java, an “open-source,” or publicly available, software language.

In a hearing outside the jury’s presence earlier on Thursday, Alsup quizzed attorneys for both companies about some of the Android financial information submitted in the case.

Alsup had sealed an internal 2011 Google document which contains profit and loss numbers for Android in 2010. However, the judge read aloud certain portions of it in court on Thursday.

The judge did not disclose the specific loss figures for Android, but said it lost money in each quarter of 2010.

“That adds up to a big loss for the whole year,” Alsup said.

Google does not publicly report financial information about Android. The company announced the operating system in 2007, and the first Android phone was shipped in 2008.

Oracle contends that Google should not be able to deduct certain Android expenses for the purposes of copyright damages in the case. However, Google spokesman Jim Prosser said Oracle misrepresented its financial numbers.

The trial has been divided into three phases: copyright liability, patent claims, and damages. It began in April and is expected to last at least eight weeks.

The juror’s note about a possible deadlock was the eighth communication from the panel since they began deliberating on Monday. Alsup tried to lift their spirits, saying it was a very complicated case.

“It’s not unusual for people to disagree,” Alsup said.

If the jury does become deadlocked, Alsup said that they might move on to hear evidence in the patent phase of the case, and another jury would have to resolve the copyright questions on a retrial.

The case in U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, is Oracle America, Inc v. Google Inc, 10-3561.

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