Samsung’s not going to like this: Google has just purchased Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion, finally placing the Android maker on equal footing as Apple when it comes to controlling both the hardware and software of their smartphone platform.
Google co-founder and CEO Larry Page announced the buy first thing this morning, saying that they had purchased Motorola Mobility for twelve and a half billion dollars, or $40 per share.
Not only is that a premium of around 63% over what Motorola was worth on Friday, but it represents a sizable chunk of Google’s $39 billion cash reserves. Someone wanted Motorola bad.
Why? Patents clearly come into it: Google says that Motorola Mobility’s rich patent portfolio because it will “enable us to better protect Android from anti-competitive threats from Microsoft, Apple and other companies.”
This is obviously a reference to Google’s public tantrum last week about Microsoft, Oracle, Apple and other companies winning bid for Novell’s patent portfolio, which Google called “bogus” and “anti-competitive” even though the search giant had not only bid on the patents themselves, but had been asked to join the consortium that bought them.
Motorola Mobility is the arm of Motorola that produced Android phones like the Droid, Droid X and Droid 2. Page said that Google purchased Motorola because of their strength in making quality Android devices, as well as for being a “market leader in the home devices and video solutions businesses.”
This is huge news. Following Apple’s lead, all the main players except for Samsung in the smartphone and tablet industry all control every aspect of their platforms, from the software down to the hardware. The fact that giants like Google, Microsoft, HP, Motorola and Nokia have all realized that it’s not enough to do just the software or just the hardware well. but to fuse both… well, that’s nothing less than a rude awakening that has come about by being smashed in the face repeatedly by the iPhone and iPad over the past few years.
The question is: now that Google makes their own phones, how will other Android makers respond? Microsoft got away with their partnership with Nokia, but Windows Phone 7 was a non-starter… Android is the most popular smartphone operating system on Earth. Will other handset makers abandon Android for other operating systems?