Completely turning the silly season on its head, Google has announced it’s buying Motorola’s smartphone division for $12.5 billion. This will be to “super charge” Android. Yes, Google has just become a true mobile hardware company.
This will add a heap of intellectual property to Google’s already-staggering patent portfolio and will serve as a sharp axe to grind on the necks of competitors if it needs to.
In a blog post, CEO Larry Page waxes lyrical about how Motorola’s a market leader not just in phones but in home devices and video. He reassures the world and its dog that Android will remain open source, though some argue that it’s not really that open anyway.
Indeed, though the IP will be valuable, industry watchers are raising their eyebrows about some of the finer points.
Its main rivals will be able to sink their teeth in. Patent expert Florian Mueller tells us: “If the deal closes, Google will inherit ongoing patent disputes with Apple and Microsoft, which probably won’t be any easier to settle now than they were before.”
Others are speculating about Microsoft, and if it plans to pick up a battered RIM or Nokia as a mobile hardware arm.
Google says it will operate Motorola as a separate business, and that it is still committed to delivering Android on other manufacturer’s devices. Of course it is. It wants the little green Android in every house and pocket.