Well, it seems we woke to a bit of a surprise this morning in the Android camp – a possible game changer. Google has purchased Motorola Mobility and blindsided us all. To be honest, though, we should have seen it coming. There are a million and one reasons Google should have bought a partner manufacturer and of all them out there, Motorola makes the most sense.
Sorry, Kevin, it doesn't look like El Goog wants to buy RIM.
So what was Google's reasoning for the acquisition? Vertical integration and building a better ecosystem. Apple's iOS has been hanging these two nuggets of gold over Android's head since the start. Google has tried its hand at vertical integration with its Nexus line twice now to a small amount of success. But having the actual manufacturer in-house – though it will be ran as a separate company, Google will still be able to call all the shots – makes a world of difference. And ecosystem? Until now, an ecosystem has been mostly absent on Android. The closest thing we could consider an ecosystem is all of Google's native, beta and cloud services like Docs, Music, Talk, Voice, etc. But this obviously pales in comparison to the famed ecosystem of iOS devices.
But Google CEO Larry Page had yet another reason for reaching out and buying a partner manufacturer: growing their patent portfolio. Acquiring Moto gives them access to over 17,000 mobile-related patents. Page explains:
“We recently explained how companies including Microsoft and Apple are banding together in anti-competitive patent attacks on Android,” and, “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.”
But this still doesn't answer the one question that is floating around in all of our minds. Why Motorola, Google? “Motorola’s total commitment to Android” is a good start. Since 2008, Motorola has focused solely on Android as the platform of choice for its smartphone lineup. Despite a few road bumps and a brief thought of defecting, which Google is ironically fixing by buying the company, Motorola has been Google's golden child. Page also touches on the fact that Moto is a market leader in home devices and video solutions (a great base for their ecosystem) and that Google plans to help them excel in other areas, too. But there are several more reasons why Moto was the perfect fit.
Hearing the cries of millions of Android fans around the world who are up in arms that Google didn't buy HTC is inevitable. But HTC is great at what they do. They're off on their own, doing their own thing and making killer products with arguably the best third-party Android software to date. It would be a shame to kill off anything HTC currently has going. Not to mention, Google purchased Motorola for $12.5 billion whereas HTC would have cost them nearly triple that amount.
Motorola, on the other hand, is struggling a bit. Don't get me wrong, they can make a mean phone. Just look at the Atrix 4G, Photon 4G or upcoming Bionic. If you aren't a fan of their newer devices, take a trip down memory lane and recall the DROID X or original DROID – two devices that easily changed the path of Android forever. Although Moto can make some serious hardware, software has been an ongoing struggle for the company. This gives Google a chance to step in and bury MOTOBLUR and Motorola Applications Platform once and for all. Phew ... finally.
Seriously though, take a second and imagine all of Motorola's flagship phones shipping with completely stock Android. That's no joking matter, especially for their Android counterparts. Not only that, but these will certainly come with unlocked bootloaders as Google loves and encourages third-party development. These Googlerola phones will be a developer's dream come true. All of you mod addicts out there, keep your eyes peeled.
So what's my take on all of this? Personally, I wish Google would have made the decision to acquire a hardware company months ago and before Microsoft and Nokia partnered up. Google should have purchased Nokia for some of the best mobile hardware around. But Motorola isn't a bad deal either, especially for just over a third of the price. I'm happy for both Motorola and Google, and it appears Google's other partners are as well. I expect great things to come from Googlerola and I can't wait for a Moto-made Nexus (let's just hope Google feels the same way about Moto's choice in displays).
What about you guys and gals? Would you have preferred Google buying a different partner? If so, who? Can this "supercharge the Android ecosystem?"