Every time HTC, Samsung, LG and four other companies sell an Android (Google)-powered device like a smartphone or tablet, Microsoft makes $3 to $6.
This is good for Microsoft. But not nearly as good as if people simply quit buying Android stuff.An analyst with Goldman Sachs today estimated that Microsoft makes about $444 million annually from its Android-licensing deals. That's compared to the $75 billion in revenue the company is expected to post in that time frame.
Meanwhile, for every Android product sold, that's one less device using a Microsoft operating system. Already Android is the most popular smart phone system, controlling some 48 percent of the market.
So really the main benefit for Microsoft in its licensing agreement isn't that it makes any money from Google, it's that Google loses money (both from the licensing payouts and in legal fees from fighting the payments) to Microsoft.
All this is made more relevant with this week's rollout of Amazon's Kindle Fire tablet, which runs on, you guessed it, Android.
Questions still remain over how much, if anything, Microsoft will make on the Fire sales.
But whatever Microsoft makes, it won't outweigh the amount the company would make if people were buying a Windows 8 tablet--oh wait, that doesn't come out for another freaking year.