Google and Oracle have a five-year lawsuit ongoing, where the latter – makers of the popular Java software element – are seeking damages against the search engine giant and makers of Android. It is in this lawsuit that Oracle has disclosed that Google’s profit from Android could well be around USD$31 billion, and the magnitude of the profit means that Oracle will be seeking to expand damages to cover versions of the mobile platform where Java was used.
As response, Google has moved fast in asking the court to seal portions of the public transcript of the lawsuit, saying that the Oracle attorney improperly disclosed “extremely sensitive information” from documents that were marked “Attorney’s Eyes Only.” At around 3PM on January 21, the transcript vanished from the court’s records, with no indication if the court ruled on sealing it from public view or not.
The Android mobile platform, launched in 2008, earns money for Google in two ways: ads supplied by Google that are shown on Android phones, and the purchase revenue from the Google Play Store. No one has really made a punt at how much Google earns from all of these, but the USD$31 billion number is staggering, such that Oracle is thinking of expanding its claims for damages up to over USD$1 billion.
If only for the information, this piece of news is eye-opening in the way it shows Google as a profit earner in the mobile and software market. All told, the $31 billion revenue could mean around USD$22 billion in net profit – that’s enough to probably buy a small nation or two.