Motorola may be Google’s most well know partner when it comes to developing Android powered devices. Today, Google has acquired Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion which is $40 per share in cash, and 63% above Friday’s closing price. The acquisition can mean a number of things, but according to Google CEO Larry Page’s blog post, the acquisition was about patents. Google will be gaining 17,000 patents and an additional 7,500 filed patent applications as part of the deal.
We recently explained how companies including Microsoft and Apple are banding together in anti-competitive patent attacks on Android. The U.S. Department of Justice had to intervene in the results of one recent patent auction to “protect competition and innovation in the open source software community” and it is currently looking into the results of the Nortel auction. 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.”
From the press release,
The acquisition of Motorola Mobility, a dedicated Android partner, will enable Google to supercharge the Android ecosystem and will enhance competition in mobile computing. Motorola Mobility will remain a licensee of Android and Android will remain open. Google will run Motorola Mobility as a separate business.
Larry Page, CEO of Google, said, “Motorola Mobility’s total commitment to Android has created a natural fit for our two companies. Together, we will create amazing user experiences that supercharge the entire Android ecosystem for the benefit of consumers, partners and developers. I look forward to welcoming Motorolans to our family of Googlers.”
Google plans to manage Motorola as a separate company, and continue to keep Android open for all hardware makers like HTC, Samsung, etc. The deal is expected to close by end 2011 of early 2012 as it passes through approval from shareholders and regulatory authorities. It’s unclear if Google intends to control more hardware, and have more self-built Android devices beyond the Nexus S. Motorola has created some of the most well known Android powered devices from the various generations of Droids to the Xoom.
Still though, the main point seems to be patens as Google missed out on the Nortel patents, and is now looking to bolster their patent portfolio in other ways. We will continue to see new products, but we will also keep seeing legal battles like the on-going suit of Motorla and Apple as well as Apple and Samsung. Hopefully the legal battles and patens don’t get in the way from seeing great new iOS and Android hardware and software for a competitive marketplace.