Most of us are against the lawsuits and legal battles that have become the norm in the mobile tech industry over the last year, simply because we'd rather see companies use our money to build great products, as opposed to paying lawyers' fees.
But lately we've seen a few interesting facts come to light that have changed our opinion somewhat, and here's another – from the Google v Oracle court case: Google actually lost money on Android as recently as 2010.
The case being heard in California isn't specifically about mobile, but rather Oracle's claim that Google has violated patents related to the Java programming language, which Google in turn says is open source and therefore not subject to intellectual property rights.
But in the course of legal proceedings Google has been forced to hand over financial information to US District Judge William Alsup, including quarterly profit and loss figures for Android for 2010 – figures that Google has kept firmly to itself until now.
The specific numbers are still a mystery, as the figures were handed to the judge in a sealed envelope, but Alsup then referred to some of the information out loud in court, revealing that Android had made a loss in all four quarters. “That adds up to a big loss for the whole year,” he concluded.
With Android's current dominance it's easy to forget that it only took top spot in the mobile OS wars relatively recently. But hearing that Google was actually losing money on it as recently as the end of 2010 still comes as a bit of a surprise.
Yes, it's ostensibly an open-source platform and so doesn't bring in cash directly, but it does raise questions as to just how much money Google is actually making from Android right now. Whatever the figure is, based on this evidence it may be less than we think.