Google has just announced that they are acquiring Motorola Mobility for a price of $12.5 billion. I have to admit that I never saw this coming.
Announcing the acquisition, this is what Google CEO, Larry Page wrote:
Given Android’s phenomenal success, we are always looking for new ways to supercharge the Android ecosystem. That is why I am so excited today to announce that we have agreed to acquire Motorola.
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.
- Larry Page
With the growth that Android has been having recently, Google is facing a problem - Android has been under attack from all sides. Both Apple and Microsoft wants a piece of the Android pie and have been suing the Android manufacturers. Microsoft is currently earning royalty from many Android devices and their income from Android is said to be much more than that from Windows Phone 7. With Google’s weak patent portfolio, they have been unable to protect Android from these patent lawsuits.
Google acquiring Motorola is a big step forwards for Google and Android. With the acquisition, Google has got its hands on Motorola’s patent portfolio. Motorola was the pioneer of mobile phone technology and holds a huge patent portfolio related to real mobile phone technology. They have around 17,000 mobile related patents and another 7000 patents pending. With this patents under them, Google now has real ammunitions to fight back against the patent trollings by Microsoft and Apple.
We recently explained how companies including Microsoft and Apple are banding together in anti-competitive patent attacks on Android. The U.S. Department of Justice had to intervene in the results of one recent patent auction to “protect competition and innovation in the open source software community” and it is currently looking into the results of the Nortel auction. 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.
- Larry Page, CEO Google
Hardware + Software = Amazing user experience
By acquiring Motorola, Google now has complete control over both hardware and software for Android – something that only Apple enjoys right now. Having this control over the hardware might mean an end to the locked bootloader and the crapware that many Motorola devices ships with. With complete control over both the Android hardware and software, Google will be in a very good position to compete with Apple.
One of the major gripes against Android devices is the slowness or lack of updates. Except for the Nexus devices, which gets the updates very quickly, the manufacturers takes their sweet time in releasing the updates for the other Android devices. This is understandable because they want people to buy new phones.
Google’s strategy is however different. They want as many people as possible to get on the internet using their phone – their main source of revenue is advertising after all. So, with Google in charge, we will most likely see timely updates for the Motorola devices. This should put a big dent in the usual Apple fanboy’s argument about Android fragmentation.
It is not clear whether Google will now do away with Motoblur in the coming Motorola devices. Motoblur is hated by everyone and mars the Android experience. If Google can release the Motorola devices as pure Android devices without Motoblur, it will improve the user experience by leaps and bound – and will likely get many new customers.
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.
- Larry Page
Android is still open
The fact that Google has got its own hardware manufacturer does not mean that they will make Android closed source. It will still remain open and the other partners such as HTC, Samsung etc. will still remain an important part of the Android ecosystem.
This acquisition will not change our commitment to run Android as an open platform. Motorola will remain a licensee of Android and Android will remain open. We will run Motorola as a separate business. Many hardware partners have contributed to Android’s success and we look forward to continuing to work with all of them to deliver outstanding user experiences.
- Larry Page
One thing that will concern the other manufacturers though is the issue about the nexus devices. Until now Google has partnered with different manufacturers to make the Nexus devices. With Motorola under them, there is no need for them to release the Nexus device with other manufacturers.
Anyway, the acquisition of Motorola Mobility is a bold and huge step for Google. The future looks bright for Android.