Matthew Yglesias writes about the fact that Android is massively successful and yet loses money for Google. This reminds me a lot of Sun and Java. Java is one of the most successful programming languages ever introduced, and indeed practically spawned an industry unto itself. Furthermore, many, many companies have made money using Java in all kinds of ways. The funny thing was that Sun never really made any money with Java. It didn’t enable them to sell hardware, or server software, or development tools. It’ll be interesting to see what Google does with Android in the long term.
Update: From the comments, Horace Dediu breaks down Android as if it were an independent company. As a business unit, it is profitable.