Google-Motorola deal to “supercharge” Android platform

Google’s acquisition of Motorola Mobility will “supercharge” the Android ecosystem, according to the company, but an industry expert claims the deal will have no major impact on developers.


Google has announced it will acquire Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion, giving Android developers a new hardware arm to help drive the platform forward.


According to Google chief executive Larry Page, Motorola’s “total commitment” to Android has created an ideal partnership for both companies.


“We will create amazing user experiences that supercharge the entire Android ecosystem for the benefit of consumers, partners and developers,” Page wrote in a company blog.


Page said Android will remain an open platform and will continue to support all vendors offering Android products. Motorola will be run as a separate business.


Ovum analyst Tim Renowden says while the acquisition will benefit Google, he doesn’t believe it will serve as an incentive for developers to choose the Android platform over others.


“Motorola has… a long history of producing advanced devices and technologies, but has been struggling financially for a number of years, making it an attractive target [for Google],” he says.


“However, if there’s any sign that Google is favouring the Motorola division, we could see some of the other vendors possibly investing more in other platforms.”


“It’s too early to say whether there will be a significant impact – we’ll have to wait and see what the response is from the other vendors over the next 12 months.”


Some of Google’s partners have already responded to the news, with the bulk of the responses overwhelmingly positive.


HTC chief executive Peter Chou says the acquisition “demonstrates that Google is deeply committed to defending Android, its partners and the entire ecosystem”.


Similar statements have been issued by Samsung, Sony Ericsson, LG and others.


Renowden says the acquisition could be more of a protective measure than anything else, as Google fights Android-related patent disputes.


“The acquisition will significantly strengthen Google’s patent portfolio… in light of the ongoing patent litigation across the mobile industry, particularly litigation aimed at Android,” he says.


Page addressed this in his blog, claiming Google felt compelled to make the acquisition in order to address the patent threats facing the company.


“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,” Page wrote.


Google expects to complete the transaction by early 2012; the deal has already been approved by the boards of both companies.


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