No one can really say they saw this one coming – this morning Google announced it would be purchasing Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion, a move that's definitely bound to shake up the handset community quite a bit.
So why Motorola?
In a statement on the Google blog, CEO Larry Page said that purchase had a lot to do with Motorola's history as a company, and its commitment to Android.
Motorola has a history of over 80 years of innovation in communications technology and products, and in the development of intellectual property, which have helped drive the remarkable revolution in mobile computing we are all enjoying today. Its many industry milestones include the introduction of the world's first portable cell phone nearly 30 years ago, and the StarTAC—the smallest and lightest phone on earth at time of launch. In 2007, Motorola was a founding member of the Open Handset Alliance that worked to make Android the first truly open and comprehensive platform for mobile devices. I have loved my Motorola phones from the StarTAC era up to the current DROIDs.
In 2008, Motorola bet big on Android as the sole operating system across all of its smartphone devices. It was a smart bet and we're thrilled at the success they've achieved so far. We believe that their mobile business is on an upward trajectory and poised for explosive growth.
Motorola is also a market leader in the home devices and video solutions business. With the transition to Internet Protocol, we are excited to work together with Motorola and the industry to support our partners and cooperate with them to accelerate innovation in this space.
Motorola's total commitment to Android in mobile devices is one of many reasons that there is a natural fit between our two companies. Together, we will create amazing user experiences that supercharge the entire Android ecosystem for the benefit of consumers, partners and developers everywhere.
Motorola may be a fantastic company, but the purchase also has a ton to do with the patents currently hanging out in Motorola's portfolio. In the official announcement, Page mentions "Our acquisition of Motorola will increase competition by strengthening Google's patent portfolio, which will enable us to better protect Android from anti-competitive threats from Microsoft, Apple and other companies," which is huge. If you've been watching the patent lawsuits lately, you know that those are likely to get a whole lot worse. this acquisition puts Motorola and Google in a better position to fight.
What does this mean for Motorola? In his statement Page also talks decent amount about Google's commitment to running Android as an open platform. The company's acquisition of Motorola will likely mean that we start seeing pure Android handsets put out by Motorola. Motorola will be run as a separate business from Google, but chances are we'll see a lot more Google influence in the products it makes – and maybe finally the death of MotoBlur.
What does this mean for Android and everyone else?
Google has quotes from a number of other cell phone manufacturers expressing their support for the new alliance. Motorola joining forces with Google ensures the company's survival, and puts Android as a whole in a better position to fight against Apple, Microsoft, and whomever else tries to oppose it. For now, it's likely to be a win for everyone across the board. Google plans to run Motorola as a separate company, and license Android to it just as it does to HTC, LG, and other handset manufacturers. Nothing changes as far as those handsets makers being able to put Android on their phones; however, now they can make a commitment to Android with less fear that Apple or another company will be able to come in overnight and cease operations.
Android has such a high position in the market now because it is available on so many different handsets, that's a position Google is likely to not want to lose. There's no advantage in locking out other Android phone competition.
While on the surface Google joining hands with a cell phone manufacturer may seem like doomsday for others, it's actually quite the opposite, and ensures those cell phone makers will be able to see another day.
What do you think about Google buying Motorola? What do you think we'll see come out of the acquisition?
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