The DROID in Android: Google to Acquire Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion
Motorola Mobility has always been a loyal supporter of the Android project, being one of the first members of the Open Handset Alliance which contributed to its creation, and solely using Google’s OS on its Smartphones. And in turn, Google announced on Monday that it is to acquire the US Company for $12.5 billion. While Google has stated Motorola will continue to be run as separate business, attention has focus on to how the deal will impact on Google itself. For one, questions have been raised as to what extent this will impact on the ‘openness’ of Android. Google’s OS has been successful partly due to the fact that it transcends vendor divisions; with one important benefit being app developers can market their applications to a wider audience. It seems extremely unlikely that Google would do anything to jeopardise its other relationships, particularly as leading Android vendors HTC and Samsung also have a minority of models running Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7, and with Nokia also poised to throw its weight behind the OS. However, having previously launched two Google-branded Smartphones, the Nexus One and the Nexus S with HTC and Samsung respectively, it seems unlikely that the company would look beyond Motorola if it decides to launch a third model in this series. A further reason for this deal – which Google have acknowledged – has been that Motorola’s portfolio of 17,000 patents (plus a further 7,500 with applications pending) will aid in defending Android against ‘Microsoft and Apple are banding together in anti-competitive patent attacks’, to quote CEO Larry Page. In a conference call with analysts on Monday, they stated the deal was ‘pro-competitive’, citing the fact that the deal was not ‘horizontal’ – with Google not having an existing stake in the handset market. Rather than being only a defensive move, another reason for it signalling a positive strategy is Google’s intention to position itself effectively to meet the converging mobile and home markets, given Motorola’s products in this space. The impact of this deal though is likely to be felt more in the mobile space initially as Google continues to reassure Android partners of its intentions.