The best way to predict the future is to invent it.  This morning’s announcement that Google intends to buy Motorola Mobility for $12.5 Billion makes this ring so true.  The Droid line of smartphones and the XOOM tablet are the two notable mobile related items we know most about.  Huge win for Google?  How about the other Android OEMs?  Premium price paid for protection that’s for sure.

The thing is that Motorola Mobility with its Droid charged Android focus is NOT performing up to expectations.  The most recent quarter outlook fell short of expectations and Motorola is actually losing ground in the Android market to companies like HTC and Samsung.  So instead of purchasing a company that is growing rapidly compared to the competition Google has paid a steep premium for an underperforming company that holds a nice cache of patents.  Yes Google has now beefed up their patent portfolio.  Ironic isn’t it.

The last time we read Google’s opinion on patents it was that patents should be invalidated in the interest of open innovation and now turns around and pays up for patents.  Make no mistake this is indeed a patent plunge.  You just have to wonder how this affects other OEMs.  Both HTC and Samsung show no signs of slowing down and each have made heavy bets on Android.  Google says they will operate Motorola Mobility as a separate business and license the Android OS to Motorola Mobility the same as they always have.  Are we all caught in some time of spatial time field where the basic logic of licensing and selling to one’s own self is somehow, well, logical?  Gotta love Google.  No sense in buying a company and phasing out the hardware so in order to stay competitive and keep Android supplied with top smartphone OEMs activating devices daily Google has no choice but to give Motorola preferred billing.  To do anything other than that is to shoot yourself in the foot.  So what say you HTC & Samsung, still feel the warm glow of Android spurring you to a future of open nirvana. I sure wouldn’t if I were you.

History has shown that Google will leverage Android’s momentum and increased importance to bend OEMs to their way of doing things.  In the past the threat of no being included in Android’s early access program dictated certain concessions from OEMs.  Can you imagine how Google can hold other OEMs over the barrel with the threat of keeping the OS to themselves for a delayed time and Motorola gets the latest and greatest Android software months before any other OEM gets a taste?  Not a pretty sight.

The future for all other OEMs have no become entirely uncertain, for Google they are predicting the future by creating it for themselves.  2012 is looking like one monumental year, should be fun.

4 COMMENTS

  1. I don’t know about Motorola Mobility getting the inside track. A LOT of Android activations happen on subsidized phones with two-year contracts. If Motorola gets a three-month jump on the rest for a new flavor, it would upset that momentum, and make it less likely other phone manufacturers would keep the ARMs race up.

    Unless Google wants to make money in a way other than mobile search, which is NOT the Google way.

    I think it was all about the patents.

  2. Of course it’s about the patents: “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

    ….and I think it’s an incredibly bold but yet very smart move on the part of Google. It will solidify their place in the smartphone marketplace as not only an OS maker but a phone maker. This will give them a major step up in the market and I think the combination will produce some very decent phones that I look forward to playing with for sure. Google was fairly limited on phone input and design for the Android platform, but now they can truly do what they want and create the ultimate Android phones. Hopefully they’ll be truly free or unlocked phones to let us play with them. Since Google has both ends covered now it will give them more leverage against the cell companies as well, which hopefully will be a good thing for us consumers.

  3. Motorola’s aesthetics are horrible. Going all android only seeks to lower your reach to customers. I could care less about free phones. I was taught as a kid to not be afraid to pay for the things you really want. I keep cheap people the hell away from me.

    Google is already pulling stuff on purpose with Microsoft not being able to fully integrate youtube into the experience thus actually doing anti-competitive tactics. They are the pot calling the kettle black except that the things they complain about are all valid challenges by their competitors.

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