Google has finally closed its acquisition of Motorola Mobility, installed Dennis Woodside as CEO, thanked former CEO Sanjay Jha for his service and outlined a goal to create "the next generation of mobile devices that will improve lives."
In other words, the fun is just beginning. Google CEO Larry Page outlined the closing of the deal and how the search giant is aiming to reach people in emerging markets who view the phone as their desktop.
It’s a well-known fact that people tend to overestimate the impact technology will have in the short term, but underestimate its significance in the longer term. Many users coming online today may never use a desktop machine, and the impact of that transition will be profound--as will the ability to just tap and pay with your phone. That’s why it’s a great time to be in the mobile business, and why I’m confident Dennis and the team at Motorola will be creating the next generation of mobile devices that will improve lives for years to come.
That overarching goal sounds wonderful, but before Google's Motorola Mobility acquisition even comes close to changing our mobile lives, there's some heavy lifting ahead. Here's the to-do list:
- Pick margins or manufacturing. Google will inherit more than 19,000 Motorola Mobility workers and manufacturing operations. Analysts have been saying for months that Motorola Mobility will hurt margins. Toss in Google's obvious Android device conflict with partners and it's not a stretch to see the search giant exiting the manufacturing game. Layoffs are quite possible.
- Build that firewall---sort of. Google has said Motorola Mobility won't have favored device nation status, but it's hard to believe. How could Motorola Mobility not get the latest Android? With its own hardware, Google can push the experience it wants.
- Work partners. Now that Google owns Motorola Mobility it will have to reach out to HTC, Samsung and other key Android partners. Google still needs the Android army.
- Bet on the living room. Google's Motorola Mobility acquisition actually puts the search giant in front of the living room due to its acquired set-top box market share. Let's face it: Google had no shot of getting there on its own.
- Software integration chores. Motorola Mobility also had a bevy of projects going on. I surfaced Motorola Mobility's vision of next-gen TV---search free by the way. And how will that Webtop look.
- Fix Chromebook. Motorola's Webtop and smartphone/laptop connection could be Google's future Chromebook.
- Utilize Motorola Mobility's enterprise heritage. Motorola Mobility has a lot of corporate IT intellectual property. These assets could bolster the security of Android in the enterprise as well as add up to Google Apps/Chromebook synergies.
- Sue rivals. It's clear that Google bought Motorola Mobility largely for the patent treasure trove. Now it has a patent arsenal to countersue. Android may be protected on the intellectual property front. Google will strike back when warranted.