Google announced yesterday that they are acquiring Motorola Mobility for US $12.5 Billion Dollars (Pending Regulatory Approval). The primary reason cited by Google for the acquisition is to protect Android against what the search-giant calls as anti-competitive patent attacks by the Likes of Apple, Microsoft and others.
Basically, Google makes it sound like they are dropping $12.5 Billion to build up Patent Protection by acquiring a loss-making outfit with 19,000 employees. Motorola Mobility has about 17,000 patents and 8,000 pending applications, mostly in mobile devices.
But there’s more to this deal than protecting Android and here’s my take:
Google wants to be the Next Apple
The deal just accentuates the fact that An Integrated Hardware-Software-Marketing-Distribution approach is a pre-requisite for providing the best possible User experience to the consumers. This model has not worked in the PC Industry but this model has worked fabulously in the Smart-phone industry for Apple. This integrated approach has enabled Apple to capture two-thirds of the profits in the mobile industry.
Samsung, HTC, Sony Ericsson and Other Android OEMs are screwed
Google says Android will remain ‘Open’ after this deal and Motorola Mobility will operate as an independent unit. But i simply can’t buy this argument. Motorola will definitely get Early access to Android builds and new Google services because of this acquisition. The User-experience on Motorola hand-sets will be a lot better than the competition because of the tight Hardware-Software integration. Samsung, HTC and other OEMs will have to upgrade their Hardware at a fast pace to catch up and they have to speed up process of applying the fancy skins on top of Android to keep up with the upgrade cycle.
Suddenly, Google has become a step-mother to Samsung, HTC and others. Google used them to gain market share and now they’re stabbing them in the back.
Overall, Android Licensees’ initial Public statement are supportive of Google-Motorola deal saying that they Appreciate Google’s commitment to protecting the Android ecosystem and its partners but in private i bet the theme is very different. I think these licensees will be at a competitive disadvantage going forward.
Finally, I think OEMs like Samsung, HTC and others are so deeply invested in the Android ecosystem that they have no choice but to support Android in the near team and their devices will be heavily commoditized going forward.
P.S. Samsung And HTC have built the best Android devices to date (In fact, The best smartphones ever according to some Fandroids) and Google thanked them by buying a competitor.
Exclusive: Guess who else wanted to buy Motorola? [Om Malik / GigaOM]
Google Bought A “Dysfunctional” Company And The “Worst” Android Handset Maker, Says Insider [Jay Yarow / Business Insider]
What is Google buying, anyway? Here’s a breakdown of Motorola Mobility [Dan Frommer / SplatF]
Google buying Motorola: Nokia, Samsung, and other industry players react [Chris Ziegler / This is my Next]
"Defending Android" [MG Siegler / TechCrunch]
Google-Motorola: Winners and losers [Dan Frommer / SplatF]
Is Google Turning Into a Mobile Phone Company? No, It Says [DealBook / NY Times]
Google and Motorola: Desperately seeking each other [Fortune]
The perils of licensing to your competitors [Horace Deidu / Asymco]
10 questions about Google’s Motorola deal [Dan Frommer / SplatF]
By Buying Motorola, Google Can Now Do Whatever The Heck They Want With Android [Greg Kimparak / TechCrunch]
Is Google’s Motorola Deal the Break That Windows Phone Needed? [Ina Fried / All ThingsD]
Now Is The Perfect Time For HP To Step Up And License WebOS [Matt Rosoff / Business Insider]
Google’s Android Partners Will Keep Using Android — They Don’t Have A Choice [Dan Frommer / SplatF]
THE TRUTH ABOUT THE GOOGLE-MOTOROLA DEAL: It Could End Up Being A Disaster [Henry Blogdet / Business Insider]
10 questions about Google’s Motorola deal [Dan Frommer / Business Insider]
$2.5 billion Google-Motorola break-up fee reflects sellers’ concern and buyer’s desperation [Florian Mueller / FOSS Patents]
Google and Motorola: what are all those patents for? [Nilay Patel / This is my Next]
Just Feeding Its 19,000 New Motorola Employees Will Cost Google $95 Million Per Year [Nicholas Carlson / Business Insider]
Google Is Now Larry Page, Incorporated [Nicholas Carlson / Business Insider]
Compared To Googlers, Motorola’s 19,000 Employees Hate Their Jobs [Nicholas Carlson / Business Insider]
Google Deal Shakes Up Asia’s Mobile Landscape [The Wall Street Journal]
Rope-A-Dope, Indeed [MG Siegler / Parislemon.com]
Balls [John Gruber / Daring Fireball]
Google’s 16 Biggest Acquisitions So Far, And What Happened To Them [Matt Rosoff / Business Indsider]
RIM Left in ‘No Man’s Land’ By Google Deal [Olga Kharif / Bloomberg]
Google Undermines Samsung-Led Handset Makers With Motorola [Bloomberg]