Ballmer Was Right About Android

Writing at Slate, Farhad Manjoo argues that despite their current protestations that acquiring Motorola isn’t going to change their approach to the Android platform as a whole, the math compels Google to try to be more like Apple:

Now Google has to find a way to recoup at least $12.5 billion from Android (on top of whatever else it was investing to build the OS). That looks very difficult. Earlier this year, Gene Munster, an analyst at Piper Jaffray, estimated that Google makes just $6 in ad revenue per Android user per year. By 2012, that number could be $10 per Android user per year. Across all users, that would mean about $1 billion in annual revenue. Even if that figure grows over time, it will take a long time for Google to make back the money it spent on Motorola, let alone to turn a profit.

As Steve Ballmer said last year, Android isn’t free.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011