Yet Android costs Google billions, without drawing revenue. Microsoft is making half a billion a year from Android. The settlement with Oracle, when it eventually comes, will add even more costs to working with Android – for anyone who dabbled with it.
Google executives must be wondering – in the words of David Byrne – “how did I get here?”
The company is going to have to spend very big to settle a clutch of outstanding IP issues, and almost certainly have to restructure Android governance to restore confidence in its stewardship of the systems. But even after all the smoke has cleared, things at Mountain View will have irrevocably changed. No amount of public relations or lobbying, or invite-only conferences, are going to return Google to the golden status it enjoyed only a few years ago.
Imagine you’re a public policy person, or a business strategist. Why would you think Google can give you a glimpse of the future, when it can’t even understand the present?