Monday, 15 August 2011

Google To Buy Motorola

Google has bought Motorola Mobility, for $12.5bn --
about £7.6bn. Mobility is the part of Motorola that makes phones. Google
says the acquisition will "supercharge" Android.

is certainly no stranger to Google's mobile OS. It's the company behind
devices such as the Motorola Milestone and the first Honeycomb
tablet, the Motorola Xoom. So the purchase does make a
degree of sense.

Breaking the news in a blog post, Google CEO
Larry Page said, "Together, we will create amazing user experiences that
supercharge the entire Android ecosystem for the benefit of consumers,
partners and developers everywhere."

Sounds adorable. But Motorola has never actually made a truly
must-have Android gadget -- could there be another reason behind Google
buying Motorola Mobility?

Patent palava 

Google's Android
operating system has recently come under attack from other companies such as
Apple, which claims the robot-powered OS infringes on its patents. As
Page notes in his blog post, in acquiring Motorola, Google will add a
whole slew of patents to its roster, giving it legal ammunition in the
fight against Android's enemies.

"This acquisition is primarily about acquiring Motorola's
sizeable patent portfolio," reckons Nick Dillon, devices and platforms
analyst at Ovum.

"The move raises concerns for Android handset manufacturers,"
Dillons adds, "as the acquisition will mean that Google will move from
becoming a software provider to becoming a hardware vendor."

Android rift?

That means Google will likely be pushing
out products that are in direct competition with its Android partners --
companies such as Samsung and LG. "If Google provides preferential
access to the Android code to its own hardware division, this would
place other vendors at a disadvantage and may lead them to question
their commitment to the platform, potentially pushing some towards other
platforms," Dillon said.

In other words, if Motorola is seen to get too much special
treatment from Google, it could cause a rift among companies that build
Android devices.

Google has gone as far as collecting
quotes from the CEOs of Android-lovin' companies to show that
there's no ill feeling harboured. HTC CEO Peter Chou said the
acquisition "demonstrates that Google is deeply committed to defending
Android, its partners, and the entire ecosystem". Big cheeses from other
companies echoed the sentiment.

The purchase, which is likely to
be completed by the end of 2011 or early 2012, means we may see
Google-branded Android phones and tablets built by Motorola coming out
before too long. That has happened before -- the Google Nexus One was built by HTC, and the Nexus S was constructed by Samsung.


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