Google to Acquire Motorola Mobility

So, this is kind of a big deal.

Official Google Blog: Supercharging Android: Google to Acquire Motorola Mobility

Obviously Google wants to control the end-to-end hardware and software experience of Android devices, a la Apple.

From my brief couple weeks using a Nexus S, vanilla Android is pretty nice. You don’t really notice the major changes made by the carriers and manufacturers until you use stock Android.

Anyway, now Google’s Nexus line will have a home at Motorola. Expect that to include both phones and tablets.

What will be interesting is the domino effect this acquisition will have on other manufacturers and carriers.

Expect Samsung to focus more on Bada for the same reasons. Expect Microsoft to buy Nokia’s phone unit, a rumor that now looks increasingly credible.

Expect Apple to snicker to itself.

It will be interesting to see how other manufacturers who have bet big on Androind, e.g. HTC, will react.

The other big piece of this deal is Motorola’s patent portfolio, which has to be enormous, given their decades of experiences in mobile.

Google is arming itself for the patent wars to protect the Android profit machine.

Anyway, this is huge. Find the comments.

Update: Apparently, this deal is all cash. Yup, $12.5 billion in cash. Wow. Plus, Motorola Mobility’s patent portfolio is more than 17,000 strong.

Update 2: It’s interesting to hear all the talk about Google defending its Android partners from companies that might be considered competitors now. This will be interesting. Also, it looks like the Nexus line will continue to be up for grabs each year, best OEM wins. I wonder how long that will continue. More updates as I wade through the coverage.

Update 3: There may be an impact on Google TV, since Motorola Mobility produces set-top boxes. Sweet. In addition to 17,000 plus patents, Motorola Mobility has 7,500 pending.

Update 4: We were just chatting about this merger, and WebOS came up, specifically the fact that HP will license it. Even though new WebOS devices have only recently hit the market, they are already being discounted, leading to speculation that sales are less than expected. Now that Android-centric manufacturers like Sony, LG, HTC, etc. (not Samsung, due to their homegrown success with Bada) face the possibility of Google as both partner and competitor, WebOS may look a lot more attractive as a licensing option. Obviously good for HP too, especially if the price cuts indicate slow sales.

Update 5: Probably the last update. Tomi Ahonen has some interesting and thick analysis of the news, especially wrt to Nokia. His viewpoint as a former insider is interesting. I’ve heard the buzz around the MeeGo-powered N9, and it seems shocking that it could be purposefully crippled by management. Stranger things I guess.




  1. Tomi Ahonen has some interesting thoughts, esp. wrt to Nokia. Adding them in another update. Microsoft can expect a fight though, and given the advance buzz around the MeeGo-running N9 companies like Intel may decide to jump in with both feet. 

    I can’t imagine that Microsoft will leave this dance alone, so maybe if they’re outbid for Nokia’s phone unit, HTC or SonyEricsson is a Plan B or C?Consolidation may come swiftly.

  2. Personally, I think this is 10% about their technology, and 90% about their patents…

    Some corporate Google smack-down might be able to shake up the lethargy that has defined Motorola for the past 5 years… plus there’s a good chance Google will lure away the hardware “alpha” geeks that previously would all have preferred Apple. So, end of the day they can salvage something from the actual business.

    Still… it’s all about the patents. Google was surprisingly naive about this when they charged into hardware…

  3. I found this “reaction from Android partners” quote list to be interesting. Do these folks all outsource their soundbites (textbites?) through the same PR firm, and the person in charge was a bit lazy w/ the editing today?
    (or Perhaps everyone was “encouraged to be on-message” in reacting to the news, and took the instructions a bit literally?)

  4. Dunno, think it might be 50/50. That’s a lot of patents, but there’s no real guarantee any of them will help. At least, I haven’t read about one silver bullet to make all the baddies leave Android be.

    I do like Dan Lyons’ take, which essentially says Google bid up the price of the Nortel auction knowing full well they had this deal, if only bc it fits my worldview of corporations.

    Google said something about keeping Motorola independent, which makes sense for now given the worried OEM partners. There’s also the fact that Moto has 19K employees, and Google has 29K, making it a tough merger of people as well as culture.

    I tend to agree w you assessment of patents’ importance to hardware. Who knows if Google planned for this; I you’re right, think didn’t, but I think they’ve had designs on a manufacturer since the Nexus store flopped.

  5. I think you’re right, despite the tinfoil hat. The OEMs have to be worried, but the hardware patents protect them. So, Google may have allayed their fears by promising to help against the Microsoft and Apple lawyers. The quotes do seem very on message.

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