Google knew it had to respond to Apple, Microsoft, RIM, and their partners winning a $4.5 billion bid on Nortell’s patents. Respond they did with a $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility and its 14,600 patents. Google likely did not want to get into the hardware business, but the risks to Android were too great. If Google did not buy Motorola, they would:
- have overpaid and spent billions on InterDigital’s patents.
- have been one court case away from HTC legally being blocked from selling Android phones in America.
- risk Microsoft or Apple buying Motorola and losing a major Android manufacture.
- continue to have Android embattled in lawsuits from Apple, Microsoft, Oracle, and others without a solid patent portfolio.
So what is next for Google and Motorola?¬† The assumption is HTC, Samsung, LG, Sony, and other manufactures will be forced to focus on other mobile operating systems. However, there isn’t a mobile operating system available today with an established app market other than Android and Apple’s iOS. Sales for Samsung and HTC’s Windows Mobile based phones has been lackluster partially due to the lack of apps. Developers already have to create an Apple and Android version of their app. They will have to be significantly motivated in order for them to create a third and fourth version of the same app.
Here are some predictions for a combined Google and Motorola:
- Google will keep Motorola as a separate division.
- HTC, Samsung, Sony, and other manufacturers will continue to focus on Android based phones for the next year.
- Manufacturers will try to diversify to Windows Mobile and possibly webOS, but the lack of apps will hamper sales.
- Nokia based Window phones will also have lackluster sales.
- Motorola Blur will go away.
- Manufactures will put more focus on differentiating themselves by modifying their Android skin such as HTC Sense or Samsung’s TouchWiz.