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Monday, August 15, 2011

Google is buying Motorola Mobility


Huge news this morning from the Android world, as Google has announced that they are acquiring Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion. Motorola Mobility was split off from the main Motorola back in January and is now a separate company, with Motorola Solutions being the second company. So Google isn't buying the entire Motorola brand, but rather just the Mobility company, responsible for all mobile devices.

If you recall, Motorola was responsible for some major Android home-runs including the original Droid, the Droid X, the Atrix, etc. Many people credit them with jump starting the entire Android brand with the Droid line.



Google says that Motorola Mobility will continue to operate as a separate company and won't be folded into the main Google brand. It will continue to license Android just like HTC, Samsung, and the other manufacturers. Google insists that they are fully committed to keeping Android open and continuing to make it available to all, meaning they have no plans to limit Android to Motorola devices.

In addition to the brand, manufacturing, etc., Google is also getting a huge patent portfolio with this acquisition. They will be able to vastly improve their patent holdings to defend themselves against lawsuits. And as they recently said, patents are something they are seriously fighting.

So, the long term details of this deal remain to be seen, but it appears in the short term that very little will change from a consumer perspective.

I don't think Google will be changing much with this acquisition. I think this was 90% motivated by a desire for the patents, with a little "hey, now we own a phone company" thrown in. In the short term, I think we'll probably see Motorola's custom skin vanish completely from new devices and Moto will become the new "pure Android experience" company. It's probably safe to assume that the next Nexus device will probably be made by Motorola.



My guess is the patent acquisition is the main reason behind Google buying this. But, I think it's a good thing that Google will now have some control over hardware. I wonder if this will lead to some really awesome phones down the road, with Google customizing hardware to utilize Android to its fullest potential.

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