Android doesn’t make much money. In fact, if you regard Google’s Motorola acquisition as part of the company’s Android strategy, then the balance sheet is deep in red ink. Android’s purpose must lie elsewhere.
The obvious, conventional answer is the smartphone-cum-tablet operating system supports Google’s search market dominance. There’s something in this.
Look for something on an Android phone or tablet and you’ll be reaching into Google search, feeding yet more information into the company’s big data mountain and giving Google another opportunity to flog more advertising.
That’s all true. But Google also gets all those things when someone uses their iPhone to search.
Google doesn’t reap the benefits if you make the same search on a Windows Phone 8 device because Bing is the default search engine. I’d argue many Windows 8 tablet users will head to Google first when searching.
Either way, Google owns mobile search. And mobile search is growing faster than desktop search.
However, Google might not have been so strong. Without Android, Microsoft or another search provider could have slipped into the market and filled the vacuum.
In other words, Android is a defensive play to protect Google search, not a product line.