Googles Motorola Mobility purchase what does it mean

first_imgAs I’m sure you’ve heard by now, unless you live under the coolest rock ever, the world was stunned yesterday as Google announced that it was purchasing the year-old spinnoff Motorola Mobility. While Android fans around the world were seeing double rainbows, drooling at the possibilities, we here at decided to explore the possibilities of this union, and the potential to permanently alter the tech world as we know it. What are the possibilities of this purchase, should it go through? How does the affect the tech landscape?UnderstandingGoogle has announced an intent to buy. Much like the merger of AT&T and T-Mobile, this must be approved before anything happens, and that is not going to be a very quick process. Some estimates put the completion of this purchase at either the end of 2011 and the beginning of 2012. Of the many things that could slow this down, accusations of antitrust or companies who oppose the purchase are just a couple of things on a very long list. It’s also important to point out that Google is not buying Motorola. Google has stated an intention to buy Motorola Mobility, the mobile and home branch of Motorola that was split off into its own company last year.Additionally, if anything should go wrong and the purchase not happen, Google has agreed to a blackout figure of nearly 3 billion dollars to be awarded to Motorola Mobility. The company wouldn’t be folded into Google immediately, either. As it stands right now, Motorola Mobility will remain a separate company under Google.Why Motorola?Of the comments that I saw across the web in the last 24 hours, one of the most prevalent was “Why not HTC/Samsung/LG/etc?” It’s a good question, though one with a pretty simple answer. This purchase was all about the patents. Motorola, for all intents and purposes, pioneered the cellphone. The many years of service in this industry has earned them over 17,500 patents and 7,500 patent applications relating to mobility products. There’s a pretty good reason Apple went after HTC and Samsung with far more vigor then Motorola, and it’s not because they were infringing any more or less then Moto. With a massive stack of mobility patents as an arsenal, Google would be able to better defend Android from those looking to usurp the inflatable bouncy castle that is the Android empire.What about everyone else?Some might think that this purchase would have a negative effect on Android. After all, if Google’s in bed with Motorola, what chance to HTC, Samsung, LG, Huawei, Sony, or anyone else have of producing a device of similar caliber? Well, as we’ve noted already, Morotola Mobility is going to still exist as a separate company, and they have no intention of switching to stock Android for their devices. Google’s Larry Page tried to address this on Google+ earlier today, issuing statements from many of Google’s partners with positive remarks about the purchase and its long term benefits for everyone running Android.On a tangentially related note, where would the other manufacturers go, exactly? According to Gartner, Windows Phone sold less then Samsung’s BADA OS this past quarter. even when Mango arrives for Windows Phone, Microsoft and their partners have a long hill to climb before Windows Phone is a platform viable to manufacturers again. Then there’s WebOS, which has rumored to soon be available to license, though that news is probably a little less enticing after mediocre sales. Even RIM is faltering, especially now that the Playbook 4G has been dropped.Whether it’s good or bad, Android is the only viable platform right now if what you want is sales. At this point in time, whether or not the other partners like the purchase is irrelevant, as Android has cornered the market.Not just AppleIt seems like there’s some misunderstanding that Google did this just to thwart Apple. What many people may not know is that Android faces a far greater threat than having its OEMs picked off one by one after years in court across the globe. Oracle, the current owners of Java, the language on which Android is largely based, have had their sights set on Google since they acquired the Java patents during their purchase of Sun Microsystems.While Motorola’s patent stack is not directly aimed at Oracle, the library of possibilities offered by Motorola will give Google more artillery against Oracle. There’s also the comglomerate that now owns the Nortel patents to keep in mind as well. By purchasing Motorola’s patents, Google has what it needs to stave off an attack from any of the companies that seem to be circling.Keep Your GoodbyesAmidst the cheers that rang out from starry eyed Android fans today was the celebration of the death of The Motorola Experience, more commonly known by its previous name of Motoblur. Google has announced that they have no current plans to affect how Motorola Mobility deploys software, and that includes bootloaders. As I said before, for now they are two separate companies under a single banner.We’ve seen Motorola be the favorite of Google several times in the past, most notably the original Droid and the recent Motorola Xoom were given first crack at software that wasn’t even available to developers yet. It’s possible that will continue in other ways as well, though only time will tell as to what degree, including the Google Nexus program. While Google has just as much ability as any other manufacturer to court Google for the next Nexus phone, Google has no plans to play favorites. The Nexus program will remain, as it always has, a project available to all of Google’s partners.The future of Google TV and ChromeOSWhile nothing has been announced, Motorola and Google have some other gadgets in common, not just smartphones. Many digital TV providers have been switching to Motorola set top boxes for high definition digital television. While right now Google has a deal with DirecTV, it would be a huge deal to be able to just hand the cable providers Google TV ready set top boxes and could easily saturate the market in oh… about five years. If Google TV is still around that long, it likely won’t look anything like what we’ve got now (or even the future version we leaked a little while ago) but it could give Google the in-home search it has been pining for.The other avenue that is somewhat exclusive to Motorola and Google respectively is Chrome OS. Motorola released a laptop shaped dock this year for their high-end smartphones, giving them tremendous battery life and extended their capabilities to include a complete web browser and a linux-based OS to be more productive in. It turned out this suited a pretty niche market, but those that wanted it have been pretty happy with it, from what I have seen. That reminds me of another niche device, the Chrombook. If Google were to replace the OS onboard the Lapdock and modify ChromeOS to handle the data coming to and from the phone, it would open Google up to a whole new realm of possibilities with their Chromebook line.Final ThoughtsIn a perfect world, by which I mean Google’s perfect world, this purchase will solve all of their problems and make Android untouchable. In reality, however, there are far too many variables to begin counting on this purchase to be a cure-all. It’s important to keep in mind that at a minimum this will probably level the playing field, which might not be a good thing. Google’s competitors might not be able to attack them, but they certainly aren’t going anywhere. If Google sticks to this plan to just kind of ignore Motorola Mobility except for to tap its patent wallet, we could be heading towards a stagnant market. Many of Android’s OEMs won’t be leaving the platform because there is no where else to go. In a stagnant market, neither side bothers with real innovations, as they are too busy keeping the status quo.As smartphone users, we’ve been enjoying a long stride of innovation and enhancements. If that slows down or stops it could bring the entire smartphone ecosystem crashing down on top of itself. If the OS manufacturers stop innovating and creating, how long before the developers for those platforms file suit? Or am I the only one who remember Windows ME?last_img read more