Why doesn’t Google make their own hardware (and partnering with HTC and Samsung for the Nexus devices doesn’t count)? Well, soon they might do just that. For around $12.5 billion, and pending regulatory approval, Google will acquire Motorola Mobility, the company responsible for some of the best-selling and well-known pieces of Android hardware on the market. Making this large purchase will give Google the ability to vertically integrate the Android ecosystem, but it remains to be seen what this means for their other partners like HTC, Samsung, and LG. Google plans to run Motorola as a separate business.
This acquisition will not change our commitment to run Android as an open platform. Motorola will remain a licensee of Android and Android will remain open. We will run Motorola as a separate business.
Don’t forget that Motorola Mobility owns a large portfolio of intellectual property; Google owning this IP will be a tremendous advantage as the smartphone industry continues to grow rapidly.
The U.S. Department of Justice had to intervene in the results of one recent patent auction to “protect competition and innovation in the open source software community” and it is currently looking into the results of the Nortel auction. Our acquisition of Motorola will increase competition by strengthening Google’s patent portfolio, which will enable us to better protect Android from anti-competitive threats from Microsoft, Apple and other companies.
Pending all approval, the transaction is expected to close by the end of 2011, or early 2012.