Google Buying Motorola: Good or Bad Move?

Posted by jun auza On 8/19/2011
In case you just woke up, opened your favorite tech/news site, and were shocked to see the headline that reads, “Google buys Motorola”, you’re not the only one. The deal, which came out of the blue, has, if not shocked and awed techies and non-techies alike. For Google, already riding strong with the success of Android, this deal was really crucial.

At this early stage though, one can’t tacitly assume that this deal will be a major boost to Google’s mobile ecosystem. However, many are optimistic about the deal’s impact on consumers, and more importantly, on Google’s bloated piggy bank.

In case, you aren’t aware of the deal, here’s the scoop in short: Google, a few days ago, purchased Motorola Mobility for approximately $12.5 billion ($40 per share).

Motorola is a very popular company that has been making many innovations in technology way before the inception of mobile phones. The Chicago-based company, which had its humble beginnings in 1928, started off by making battery eliminators for radios. From there, Motorola’s popularity went soaring as they kept coming out with one innovation after another. In 1969, it was using a Motorola radio that Neil Armstrong uttered these famous words from the moon "one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”. Several years later came the popular Moto Razr, which is still regarded as one of the most popular cellphones of all time.

These and many other innovations by Motorola are luring enough for any big company to take them over. However, Google’s interests are not in their earlier innovations. What tempted Google into making such a huge deal was the trove of 20,000 patents (includes pending and granted) that Motorola filed with lots of hard work.

These patents would give them some breathing room after heavyweight competitors like Apple and Microsoft are filing a host of patent violations against Android. In fact, the patent war has gone so far that Microsoft is actually earning more revenue from Android than it earns from its own mobile ecosystem.

So how’s the deal good for Android? Well, firstly, they’ll own a company that has been innovating in technology since a long time, long before Google was even born. Secondly, Android, up until now, was basically an operating system that ran on hardware manufactured by various other companies worldwide.

Although there are no major problems with this system, but when compared with its closest rival Apple, Android still lacked the in-house hardware power that Apple has. Now, Google can manufacture Android-based devices with hardware of their own choice without any third-party involvement whatsoever. Finally, the best part about the deal is the 20,000 patents that Google receives as part of the deal. Whether Google uses them or not is another issue, but one thing’s for sure, this is one hell of a bounty the big G has laid its hands on.

For the skeptics, cynics and pessimists wondering about what could go wrong with this deal, here’s what I think about it. There’s a big possibility that Google might concentrate on Motorola-based devices more and will start neglecting other manufacturers that depends on Android such as HTC and Samsung. This means Google would release its official Googlephones (Nexus series) on Motorola-based devices instead of the Samsung or HTC ones. Or, they might come up with other flagship Google devices that run on pure Android and Motorola devices. Samsung and HTC, which has been raking in a lot of cash thanks to Android, may suffer some losses.

Hypothesizing further, let’s say Google and other Android partner manufacturers decide to break up; it’d be a really bad thing for the big G. From the very start, Google hasn’t been really good on the hardware front. Nexus One was a good product but it lacked many essential features that Samsung and HTC phones in the same price range were able to provide.

On a side note, if you’re a thorough pessimist, and are wondering if Google would go into complete lockdown mode a la Apple, you are wrong. Google is committed to keeping Android Open Source and they won’t think of doing things the Apple way. To reaffirm the aforementioned assertions, here’s what Andy Rubin, Senior Vice President of Mobile at Google said:

“We expect that this combination will enable us to break new ground for the Android ecosystem. However, our vision for Android is unchanged and Google remains firmly committed to Android as an open platform and a vibrant open source community. We will continue to work with all of our valued Android partners to develop and distribute innovative Android-powered devices.”

So, even if this deal benefits or hurts Google, it is definitely a great thing for all Motorola fans out there as the company was in a pretty bad shape before Google decided to buy it. Only time will tell if Google’s decision was right or wrong. Do let us know what you think about this deal. Was it a good decision or a bad decision by Google?


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