Google to buy Motorola Mobility for $12.5bn

"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." — Larry Page, quoted in Wired's story on the $12.5bn buy. Motorola spun off its cellphone business earlier this year.


  1. Well, I don’t like the reasoning, but . . . 

    -abs does admit “It’s about bloody time they got out of their Ivory Tower and got in with reality, maybe now the ‘droid will be harder for Apple to patent-kill”

  2. So Google has joined the fray. It’s unfortunate that instead of trying to fight software patents they decided to just start behaving like everyone else. But I imagine that getting involved in the patent business is more lucrative than trying to curtail it.

    1. when we see google aggressively pursuing revenue through patent lawsuits your post might be correct. when we see google aggressively use patents to hinder competition your post also might be true. until then it is conjecture not based in fact. to date google has used patents defensively. to me, this looks like a response to apple’sand ms’ recent actions in re: nortel, etc. want to bet google continue to lobby for patent reform [while stockpiling a defensive armoury]?

      edit: they > google

  3. I guess Google couldn’t afford HTC.

    Must admit I’ve never liked Motorola products. The last desirable phone they made was the StarTAC. Everyone I know who had a RAZR hated it, and the Droid looked 10 years old when it was released.

    I guess the smartphone choice is now really between Apple, Wokia and Googlorola. Just sad that Nokia have abandoned MeeGo. I think I’ll be after a grey-market N9 when they become available, since Nokia don’t want to sell me one.

    Seems like a bad day for Samsung and HTC, now the two main OSs they make phones for will be heavily integrated with their biggest rivals.

    1. i’m pretty sure htc removed themselves from consideration when they signed that patent deal with ms re: their use of android.

    2. Still trying to decide if “Googlorola” sounds more like a venereal disease or a pasta dish.

  4. Sometimes you still have to play a game you hate, even while you try to change it.

    Note that that’s a truism, not a defense of Google’s opinions or strategy, both of which I have insufficient knowledge about to make any claim.  I’d like it if they or anyone hated the patent game and tried to change it.

  5. So Google can now directly control the direction of the Droid line, AND they get direct profits from sales of hardware. 

    (Also, I wonder if the Nexus line will be going to Moto from now on…)

  6. I hope they buy Sprint next.  I think it may be the only thing that can prevent a complete AT&T/Verizon duopoly.

  7.  The Nortel deal was $4.5 billion for 6000 patents and patent
    applications.  This is $12.5 for 17000 patents and 6000 applications
    plus a running business.  Plus Google needed the patents more than Microsoft does.

  8. Hmm, 19,000 employees to Google’s 24,000. Such big integrations are usually hell to pull off correctly.

    Also, looks like the future of devices is moving towards an integrated model (Apple, Google/Moto, MS/Nokia, HP/Palm, RIM). Would actually be nice to see five differentiated competing ecosystems to emerge.

  9. So a software company had to buy a hardware company for $12B – despite this not aligning with Google’s overall vision or philosophy at all – just so that it would have ammunition to use in the endless battle of patent lawsuits to which a tech company is subjected today.

    Were it not for the patent mess, Google would have no interest in the hardware business. The margins are decent today, but there’s a reason Motorola spun off the handset business from its telecom hardware business: one of these has a very profitable future, the other will follow the PC industry in becoming a cut-throat battle among Chinese OEMs.

    Google just wants to deliver advertising associated with search. They made a mobile OS so that other companies – Apple and Microsoft – wouldn’t get to control how their content is presented to users. They have no interest in becoming a manufacturer of phones, and you could argue that making money off Android isn’t really one of their primary considerations either. They just wanted to make sure that users could see their ads.

    Now they’re stuck with a business they have no idea how to run.

    Software patents are vampires draining the life out of the tech industry, enriching only lawyers and sleazebag patent trolls, serving to ensure that newcomers are barred from the market or forced to pay a toll to the incumbents if they want to stay alive. Even a company with a “don’t be evil” policy has no choice but to get its hands bloody.

  10. Prediction: Factories etc of MM get sold to China (ZTE, maybe?), IP is kept, Google partners remain happy.

  11. As a happy unlocked Nexus One user, I want to believe that this will lead to a truly ultimate Google Phone by the time I need a new one (my N1 is still going strong). But as others have noted, Motorola hardware – and software – has sucked hard for quite a long time (I did have a Razr back in the day, like seemingly everyone else did).

    However, given the quality of the N1, perhaps we can hope for something better from Motorola now? It’s always been a bit unclear how much influence Google had over the hardware design for the Nexus phones (N1 is HTC, NS is Samsung), but I like to think that it was significant, and so I am hopeful for future Motorola Android phones (which currently I’d avoid like the plague if I needed a new one).

    1. “How many people will lose their jobs due to this merger?”

      Hopefully Motorola’s entire software division and management.

      I like the support, rootability and moddability of the Nexus phones, but
      don’t like their hardware much. I really like Motorola’s hardware (at
      least my Milestone), but the people responsible for their software,
      (lack of) updates and needlessly restrictive policies need to be shot

      If Google is willing to do that, then I can see a bright future ahead.

Comments are closed.