Google announced its earnings last night (revenues strong, profits a bit softer, price targets cut), offering a deeper look into how its mobile business is faring in the process. The verdict: it’s growing at the same scale and with the same impact to its business and the market that its search business did in the early years. Which of course is the point â€“ and a major endorsement of its mobile strategy.
Let’s take a look at some key mobile numbers (some of which came out in its earnings, others which coincidentally surfaced this week as well):
- Google’s mobile business is on a $1 billion annualized run rate. Ultimately, that’s revenue generated via mainly from mobile and local ad sales. TechCrunch reported Google CFO Patrick Pichette describing mobile as “growing at an amazing blazingly pace,” he said, adding, “We tripped into $1 billion.”
- Android app installs have hit 3 billion. That’s up from 2 billion in just two months, showing the rapid adoption of the Android platform. By comparison, it took Google 20 months to hit 1 billion downloads. Google also said it is seeing 350,000 device activations per day (given its distro model, spread out across dozens of operators). Fyi: Apple passed 10 billion app downloads earlier this year.
- The most downloaded Android app is Google maps. Not surprising, it’s a very useful application. It’s also a conduit to even more Google control over the mobile and local search and advertising markets.
- Android has been the market share leader for mobile ad sales for four quarters now. Its current mobile ad market share is 48%. Both those stats come courtesy of mobile ad network Millennial Media. Meanwhile, Apple iOS sits at 31%, RIM at 18%, and others such as Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7, Symbian and HP’s WebOS make up the remaining 3%.
All of which amounts to a very solid business footing for Google’s Android-driven mobile business (very smartly based on its existing ad business), even as Apple continues to carry a bit higher-profile with its well-designed iPhone and iPad hardware and deep apps and content ecosystem.
If the financial underpinnings of these two leaders’ business continue to diverge (ads vs. hardware/apps/media), would it be a shock to someday see iTunes on Android (much like it’s on Windows on the desktop) and Google reaching its ad tentacles deeper onto the Apple platform?
And: is there still an opening for a platform (maybe one other than Android or iOS) to emerge as the mobile dev platform of choice in the enterprise? Clearly HP, Microsoft/Nokia and RIM/Blackberry are counting on it as they fight an uphill battle versus Apple and Google in the mobile consumer market.