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.