Reports are surfacing today that Google only generated about $550 million from Android since 2008, and that it earns far less from Android devices than it does from Apple handsets — but this really isn't likely to be the whole picture. The figures are coming from a recent Google court filing that offers Oracle a percentage of Android revenue as patent damages, in which the $550 million figure is extrapolated from a percentage of total revenue it's willing to pay (0.5% + 0.015% of revenue, or $2.8 million). The only problem with this calculation is that the extrapolation is likely to be very inaccurate: Google's figures are interpreted from their finance expert in the case, and it's likely that the company is minimizing the revenue for damages as a defendant. In this case, Google is looking at a small portion of the app or ad revenue and not giving the patents Oracle is complaining about credit for all of it — so the extrapolation is filled with variables that we can't know at this time. On analogy, Google only wants to pay for a lug nut, while Oracle wants it to pay damages for the sale of the whole car — so Google's obviously not going to reveal how big that car actually is just yet.
Matt Macari contributed to this report.