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Google Getting Ready to Monetize Android

Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)'s mobile business isn't profitable yet, but the company is inching closer to monetizing Android, CEO Larry Page said Thursday.

Page told investors during Google's fourth-quarter earnings call that the company is in the early stages of monetizing a number of new products, including Android. He said the company makes its money on mobile from search and advertising, as well as paid app downloads. (See Google Says Android's on a Tear and Google Goes Upwardly Mobile.)

"We see a lot of potential for us to make money on Android," Page said. "You'll see us increase that over time."

Android users activate 700,000 phones every day, with 3.7 million activations occurring during Christmas weekend, Page said. Total Android devices sold now total 250 million, up 50 million since November. There have also been more than 11 billion downloads from Android Market, many of which are free, he said, but some are paid.

Google has yet to reveal the financials of its Android business, but Oracle Corp. (Nasdaq: ORCL) used the available activation numbers to suggest in a lawsuit that Google makes around $10 million a day in mobile ad revenue. Page didn't comment on the lawsuit during the call. (See OS Watch: Oracle Seeks Billions in Google Lawsuit.)

Despite its growth in mobile, Google's fourth-quarter earnings disappointed analysts. The search giant reported fourth-quarter revenues of $10.86 billion, 25 percent higher than a year ago. Its net income was $2.71 billion, or $8.22 per share, compared to net income of $2.54 billion, or $7.81 per share, for the same period the previous year. Analysts were expecting $10.51 per share.

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

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