Google is an internet company, it is a software hub and with todays news, it has a hardware footprint. Google today announced that it is acquiring Motorola Mobility, the company that has dedicated itself to Android development. Motorola is one of the companies that has successfully done a turnaround in the smartphone market and was the only company that Google could have got at a price tag of $12 billion and yet get a huge patents base. Motorola is a company with over 15,000 patents and at the same time it makes some amazing hardware.
Google has a Nexus program under which it works with manufacturers to product pure Google experience Android handsets. The two handsets we have seen under this program is the Nexus One and Nexus S. The former with HTC and latter with Samsung. With Motorola coming into the scene, Google has an opportunity to work even more closely on the hardware and deliver freshly baked Android phones.
Google has been losing out to Apple when it comes to integrating hardware and software. The two nexus phones aren’t the high-end devices that marks an operating systems superiority. Samsung has its customization over it, so does HTC and LG. For Google to roll software updates to the likes of SGS2 and HTC Sensation, there would be a lot of work required. With Motorola, the job should become easier. Motorola has a software arm, they have acquired mobile OS companies and that expertise would certainly blend with Google. Motorola may be a separate entity, but Google has a lot to learn from their operations. For Apple, there is some time before Motorola+Google start to deliver the goodness. And there would still be friction as Motorola isn’t a Google department. Google still has to serve numerous OEMs and its attention is spread. Does Google + Motorola make an Apple like combination that delivers anything like iPhone, no. Does it supercharge Android, yes! Android just moved to Android+, but not anything new.
Having Motorola by its side, Google ensures that the patent portfolio of Google+Motorola would enable them to fight Apple which is already into a lawsuit with Motorola. At the same time, Google may offer more protection to its partners who use Android operating system (given that Sanjay Jha suggested using those patents for revenue generation, we can doubt this bit). We are also unsure of how this deal impacts the lawsuit by Oracle on Android OS. The Motorola deal is expected to close by 2011 end or early 2012, the lawsuits might well go against Google by then.
All in all, Android getting a manufacturer brings some consolidation to the market, Google has a task in hand to convince its partners of the open handset alliance to stick with them. Microsoft must be gearing up to push Windows Phone 7 with super boost now.