Google is gearing up to offload Motorola’s set-top box business as it looks to concentrate its efforts on competing with Apple’s iPhone. The company has been trying to sell Motorola Home Business, which supplies set-top boxes to cable television providers, for around $2 billion, and it has reportedly received multiple offers already. Once it’s gone, Google will focus on high-end smartphones.
Google acquired Motorola Home Business when it acquired Motorola Mobility Holdings back in May. However, the company clearly has little interest in the set-top box business, which could have allowed it to produce its own Google TV products and compete with Apple TV.
Bloomberg reports that the company is now trying to offload the division for around $2 billion. It has already received bids from Arris Group Inc. and Pace Plc, according to the report, and “a deal has a 50-50 chance to be announced by year-end or postponed because of a complicated financing structure in which Google might retain some equity and the unit’s patents.”
An ongoing patent-infringement battle with TiVo Inc. may also stand in the way of the deal.
The sale of Motorola Home Business is just another part of Google’s plan to focus on smartphones and tablets. It has already announced plans to cut 4,000 Motorola workers and close around a third of its facilities in a bid to restore its leadership in the mobile market.
Since its acquisition of Motorola, Google is yet to announce a flagship smartphone that has any real chance of competing with other high-end devices. Even its Nexus devices continue to be made by third-parties, including the recently-released Nexus 4, which is built by LG.
Analysts at IDC expect Android’s share of the smartphone market to slip to 63.8% by 2016, from 68.3% in 2012. However, the iPhone’s market share is expected to rise from 18.8% to 19.1%, maintaining its second place sitting.
This doesn’t mean Google is giving up on television altogether, of course. It will still continue work on its Google TV platform, which is completely unrelated to Motorola’s set-top box business.