Android surpasses 190M devices as Google bulks up for legal wars

Android is now powering more than 190 million devices. Google CEO and co-founder Larry Page calls the platform’s growth “mind boggling.”

Mobile is playing an increasingly important role in the company’s future, but until last week’s earnings callthere was little sense of just how much it contributes to the company’s bottom line.

Mobile is now operating at an annual run rate above $2.5 billion, Page said, adding that revenue tied to the company’s mobile operations has grown two-and-a-half times in the last 12 months.

Search is still the name of the game for Google, however. Even its mobile revenues are primarily driven by mobile search.

“Generally, I found that high usage products will make a lot of money over time for well-managed technology companies, and that’s why it’s so important to run these businesses for the long term,” Page said.

Hinting at the legal and licensing battles ensnaring Android manufacturers over their use of Android, Page would only say that Google is excited about Android and said there are no signs the attacks in court and elsewhere have been effective.

“Ultimately we think that other companies’ actions there will alienate their customers and their relationships with the other companies,” he said.

Google’s strategy around protecting Android and its partners is getting stronger, Page added. “We’re serious about protecting the Android ecosystem.”

While Google awaits regulatory review on its proposed $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility, mobile hardware and software battles are raging in patent courts around the globe.

Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet has been banned in Australia and Germany, due to Apple’s legal campaign. Meanwhile, HTC and Samsung have both signed licensing deals with Microsoft, which claims right to patents infringed upon by Android.

“Rather than seeing, for example, Microsoft compete in the marketplace with their own smartphones, they’ve really continued resorting to legal measures to hassle their own customers, right? So it seems kind of odd,” Page said.

Google reported net income of $2.73 billion on $9.72 billion in revenues during the third quarter. Year-over-year revenues were up 33% and profit was up nearly 21%.

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