Google defends Motorola purchase: More than just a patent sale

Summary:Google's annual shareholder meeting threw open some interesting questions. Was the Googorola deal all about the patents? According to the search giant, "no," but it helped.

Google had to defend itself over the purchase of smartphone maker Motorola Mobility at its annual shareholder meeting on Thursday, only weeks after the $12.5 billion deal cleared regulatory approval.

The message Google wants shareholders to take away: "It's not all about the patents."

Keep telling yourself that, Google.

In the group meeting, shareholders asked every question they could think of, from matters of privacy to areas of mobile advertising, online video offerings and prior acquisitions: all with the intention of seeking justification from Google in its actions. After all, the company is in the hands of the shareholders, rather than the other way around.

But Motorola remained with heavy focus on the meeting. Why did Google buy Motorola for $12.5 billion?

"...for the sum of patents, products, the people, and the innovation," Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt told attendees.

Google has sought to boost its wireless patent portfolio in a bid to hold Android competitors at bay amid flying shrapnel from patent lawsuits from both Apple and Microsoft, among others.

The 17,000 patents it acquired from the Motorola purchase was as one might imagine a bonus --- if not the overall incentive --- to buy the company, but Google recognises that there is more to a deal than just few thousand scraps of patent certificates.

But Patrick Pichette, Google's chief financial officer, said that shareholders shouldn't expect the search giant to integrate Motorola into its own operations, according to MarketWatch, maintaining the company's stance that Motorola should be held at arms length to keep other Android hardware makers happy.

Pichette called the buyout an investment for the long term. "Think of Google in a way taking Motorola private," he said. "We're making sure it has everything it needs to win in its own space."

Larry Page wasn't in attendance --- he lost his voice --- and would not speak at Google I/O next week, and may miss the company's second-quarter earnings next month. Now I've had my fair share of sore throats but never have I had one that silenced me for the best part of a month.

Motorola's performance will be dished out during Google's second-quarter earnings on July 14.

Image credit: Stephen Shankland/CNET.

Related:

Topics: Mobility, Banking, Google, Hardware, Security, Smartphones, Wi-Fi

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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