August 15, 2011 | by Tony Price
It looks like there will be a new owner of Motorola Mobility in the very near future. Google, the search giants behind the Android OS that so many of us love, has agreed to buy the smart phone manufacturer for $12.5 billion. This means that Google, who had only put out one phone (that they didn’t even manufacture) in the past, will now have the ability to build and develop phones on their owns.
However, it is obvious that this is mostly a patent move for Google. They have been slammed with lawsuits and patent trials during the past few months, and need to make some major plays. This purchase includes some 15 thousand issues patents, with another 7 thousand that have been applied for.
This announcement was made on the Official Google Blog as well as through a press release from Motorola. In the blog post, Google CEO Larry page describes the company’s success with Android, and goes on to say that this acquisition will “supercharge the Android ecosystem.”
Andy Rubin, Google Senior VP of Mobile, is quoted int he press release as saying that their “vision for Android is unchanged and Google remains firmly committed to Android as an open platform and vibrant open source community.” based on that statement alone, it is clear that there will be big changes coming to Motorola devices in the near future.
With this news came speculation and doubt about the opinions of other Android OEMs. Many thought that device manufacturers like HTC or Samsung would possibly be upset at Google’s choice to purchase Motorola’s mobile phone division. Thankfully, they were very wrong.
We now have quotes from all four major Android partners, including HTC, Samsung, LG, and Sony Ericsson. While all the quotes are part of this post, the consensus is clear: they approve. It seems that they see part of the benefit of this type of purchase from Google. They view is as Google stepping up and “defending Android, its partners, and the ecosystem.”
Peter Chou, CEO, HTC:
“We welcome the news of today‘s acquisition, which demonstrates that Google is deeply committed to defending Android, its partners, and the entire ecosystem.”
Bert Nordberg, President & CEO, Sony Ericsson:
“I welcome Google‘s commitment to defending Android and its partners.”
Jong-Seok Park, Ph.D, President & CEO, LG Electronics Mobile Communications Company:
“We welcome Google‘s commitment to defending Android and its partners.”
J.K. Shin, President, Samsung, Mobile Communications Division:
“We welcome today’s news, which demonstrates Google’s deep commitment to defending Android, its partners, and the ecosystem.”
Overall, I think that this purchase is very good for the user and the community at large. It does show that Google is committed to Android, and its partners. It is one of the first of probably many steps that Google will take in defense of the current patent situation.
It will also mark a new day for the sometime rough reputation of Motorola Android devices. With Google now at the helm, it should mean a change in many policies regarding openness and firmware updates. Overall, this can only really be a good thing for the end user.
It is important the remember, however, that Motorola Mobility will still be ran as a separate business. That means that they won’t have any exclusive rights to the next Nexus phone. Andy Rubin did provide some details on how that process works, however.
This purchase will also provide some interesting opportunities for Google is near future. Motorola manufactures a large number of set-top boxes for cable companies, including many DVRs. The possibility of integrating Google TV (which was briefly mentioned in the conference call) into those boxes would mean a much greater penetration of that product. It would be a shot in the arm for the struggling platform.
What are your thoughts on this story? Do you think Google is doing the right thing? Do you think this is just the first of many acquisitions by Google? Let us know your thoughts by leaving a comment below.