Google, your favorite hardware company
Suzanne Deffree - May 22, 2012
It’s official. Google today announced that it has closed its previously announced acquisition of Motorola Mobility Inc (MMI) for $40 a share.
Google’s mission statement from the outset was “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” One could say it is continuing down that path with this mobile computing-focused buy.
Dennis Woodside, who has overseen integration planning for the acquisition and previously served as president of Google’s Americas region, has become CEO of Motorola Mobility. What Jha brought to the table at Moto, and what will be sticking with MMI under Google and Woodside, is a big bet on Android.
Says Google’s press release on the deal close: The acquisition will enable Google to supercharge the Android ecosystem and will enhance competition in mobile computing.
Indeed, Google is now in an opportune place. It not only owns the hardware (phone) but has a heavy hand in the Android OS (operating system); recall its lead effort in starting up the Open Handset Alliance in 2007 with industry buzz around the so-then-called “Google phone.”
Android is a great place to be. According to research from Gartner released last week, Android had more than 56% smartphone OS market share in Q1 2012, up from 36.4% in Q1 2011.
While the acquisition has been in the works since last August, it follows other closely hardware-tied announcements for Google. Less than two months ago, we were first hearing about Google Glasses. Google TV shows promise; it’s a good bet Moto’s set-top-box ties could come in handy here post deal close. The patents and assets gathered by MMI over the years alone made the company a smart buy for anyone looking to expand in communications or consumer electronics.
Now come the still unseen possibilities for Google. What MMI assets (and employees) will Google hold on to, what will it drop, and what does that mean for Google as a company? There’s a future scenario where Google becomes a hardware-focused player, much more than its search engine roots. Not near term - after all, where did I go to search for the press release on this acquisition closure? You guessed it. Google.com — but possible.
Questions also arise as to Android. The press release states: Motorola Mobility will remain a licensee of Android and Android will remain open. Google will run Motorola Mobility as a separate business.
But as Google no doubt becomes an even stronger supporter of Android than it is now, how will that impact other handset manufacturers use of the OS? Will they remain loyal to Android if Google’s support and influence becomes perceived as excessive? What will Google-infused MMI phones do to the “openness” of Android? Windows OS, which finds itself at the bottom of the Gartner smartphone OS ranking with less than 2% market share, may have an opportunity to gain design in.
What do you think? Share your thoughts below.