Google's decision to buy Android in 2005 was its "best deal ever," corporate development VP David Lawee remarked at the Stanford Accel Symposium today. The executive admitted that he didn't see the launch panning out but pointed to Android's success as a platform as proof. It now accounts for much of the $1 billion in mobile ad revenue at Google and at least temporarily passed iPhone share despite shipping later.
Lawee recalled seeing the company's Android VP Andy Rubin and hoping that he "does something," but it was evident to him that it was working when Rubin stayed. Acquisitions by Google still have to prove that they can work together and contribute to the company, and most successful teams have seen few if any exists.
"It's obvious when the deal doesn't work out, because the people leave," the VP said.
Rubin's team took roughly three years to get a shipping product with the T-Mobile G1's launch in October 2008, but Android has received relatively broad support that includes most major phone manufacturers, including HTC, Motorola and Samsung. VentureBeat noted that most of the ad revenue currently comes from AdMob, which also services BlackBerry devices, iPhone and other platforms besides Android, but Google is thought to have spent less than $50 million on acquiring Android itself. SEC rules usually allow small acquisitions to go through without requiring a disclosure of the terms.