Google x Motorola

Google Is Buying Motorola

Crazy news just in—Google is acquiring the handset division of Motorola, Motorola Mobility, for $12.5 billion. This means Google could soon officially in the hardware business.

Could, because the deal has to pass regulatory scrutiny from governments around the world plus the eyeballs of Motorola’s shareholders. But should that all clear, this is a big, big deal. From the press release (below), “the acquisition of Motorola Mobility, a dedicated Android partner, will enable Google to supercharge the Android ecosystem and will enhance competition in mobile computing. Motorola Mobility will remain a licensee of Android and Android will remain open. Google will run Motorola Mobility as a separate business.” HTC, Sony Ericsson, Samsung, LG and the other Android manufacturers must be quaking in their boots today. That said, despite offering 32 phones—21 of which have Android baked in—Nasdaq pegged Motorola with a paltry 3% market share as of the beginning of this year. Not exactly a commanding force. Then again, that was before Google was at the reins.

Some additional thoughts:

• Google putting out its own hardware makes things super awkward for Google’s Android partners, and could be the best thing that ever happened to Windows Phone. Samsung, HTC, et al, are going to need another avenue of attack, since Motorola branded products are going to theoretically have a major advantage, even if Google insists they’re going to have to compete like every other phonemaker.

• What does this mean for Google’s retail skills? They totally boned the original Nexus launch. On the one hand, now they’ve got Motorola’s supply chain and competencies. On the other hand, Motorola lately hasn’t been all that amazing (3 percent share, and that’s with the most visible Android brand name on the market).

• Motorola’s got something like 21 Android handsets. Does that mean we’re suddenly going to have two dozen phones running stock Android? That would be kind of incredible. At the same time, other OEMs are probably going to be even more aggressive with their skins so that they can “differentiate.” In an ideal world, they’re forced to find a way to actually improve the Android experience. In reality, they’re probably just going to screw it up more


2012 will be a hard year for APPLE. Steve Job, stay awake !


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