Google's home entertainment foray: Why the Motorola deal may work

Google's home entertainment foray: Why the Motorola deal may work

Summary: The search giant's Motorola acquisition, which on the surface looks like it's all about Android and patents, may ultimately turn out to be about the living room.

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Google is reportedly developing a home-entertainment system under its own brand that will have integrated hardware and software. Sound familiar? It sounds like Apple's plans. Fortunately for Google that master plan also rhymes nicely with Motorola.

The Wall Street Journal reports that this home entertainment system from Google will offer streaming music. Other content is also likely to be offered. The reaction from tech watchers is mixed. And that reaction is valid given Google TV flopped.

Via Motorola, Google is already in your living room.

Via Motorola, Google is already in your living room.

But don't get too quick to count out Google. Google doesn't know hardware, but Motorola does. The search giant's Motorola acquisition, which on the surface looks like it's all about Android and patents, may ultimately turn out to be about the living room. Why?

Motorola is bringing a large installed base of cable set-top boxes to the party. There are two set-top box players---Cisco and Motorola. Motorola Mobility brings home IP video, home digital video and home networking tools.

In other words, Google will already have a big footprint in your living room as soon as the Motorola deal closes.

It remains unclear whether Google and Motorola can get the idiot proof integration done that the living room requires. But Google will have hardware expertise via Motorola. If Google's home entertainment foray works the Motorola purchase---and the profit margin pressure that comes with it---may be justified.

Related:

Google's Motorola Mobility acquisition: Does it still add up?

Topics: Google, Hardware, Mobility

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23 comments
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  • RE: Google's home entertainment foray: Why the Motorola deal may work

    Very nice idea. Good article. Would be nice to have more of these on ZDNET.
    kirovs
    • RE: Google's home entertainment foray: Why the Motorola deal may work

      @kirovs@...
      Um, this is actually the dumbest thing I've read on ZDNet in a long time. Google is buying Motorola Mobility, the failing cell phone maker.

      These guys [i]do not[/i] have any devices in your living room, unless you happen to be standing in your living room now holding onto one of their poorly selling phones.

      This is not to say Google are making an error. Having their own manufacturing capability may make them a bit more like Apple, and we all know how much more successful Apple is than Google when it comes to making money. This is just to say that the reason cited in the article [i]isn't one of the reasons.[/i]
      x I'm tc
  • RE: Google's home entertainment foray: Why the Motorola deal may work

    Beware...Motorola is infamous for pulling the plug on certain technologies after hooking you. Ask any C-band satellite user.
    bart2brett
  • RE: Google's home entertainment foray: Why the Motorola deal may work

    A pipe dream. Not going to happen.
    NoAxToGrind
  • RE: Google's home entertainment foray: Why the Motorola deal may work

    Why pay for a box to play music when I can just plug in my smartphone or use my XBox/LAN already?
    dtdono0
    • RE: Google's home entertainment foray: Why the Motorola deal may work

      @dtdono0
      Cause you already have it?
      kirovs
  • Old news...

    This news is as old as the announcement that Google was buying Motorola Mobility. <br><br>First, it was only bloggers like the ones here whose narrow focus was just limited to phones, tablets and patents. He is right in that it is about Android but the focus is wrong. Google's goal with Android from Day 1 was/is to "get it on as many devices as possible" (google "Androidology" and you'll get 3 links explaining everything and see why I say this is old news - <a href="https://www.google.com/search?ix=sea&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8&q=androidology" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">https://www.google.com/search?ix=sea&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8&q=androidology</a> ). <br><br>The purchase of Motorola Mobility I'm certain had some relevance to the patent war. But Google was already waist deep into Google TV. If they had already own Motorola they wouldn't have had to partner with Logitec, LG and Sony to release Google TV.<br><br>Google's goal from the beginning was to take over the world with Android. If they can unite phone, TV and tablet under the same OS, it just might happen (queue the "fragmentation" debate).
    tallbruva
  • RE: Google's home entertainment foray: Why the Motorola deal may work

    But is the cable box business part of 'Motorola Mobility'?? That seems very unlikely.

    Google isn't acquiring all of Motorola... just the spun off mobile business.
    jimoro
    • RE: Google's home entertainment foray: Why the Motorola deal may work

      @jimoro "But is the cable box business part of Motorola Mobility?"

      No, it's not.
      statuskwo5
    • I was thinking that a cable box is hardly mobile

      @jimoro
      so I assume that it would not fall under the Motorola Mobility division.
      Tim Cook
    • MMI has two business units. One mobility and the other home devices.

      @jimoro

      Home devices includes the set top boxes. However, this article is so wet on so many levels it is not funny. The set top box market is hyper low margin, made to spec and sold to cable companies. None of the existing boxes would run Android without 2-4 years of effort and there is no way the cable companies would:

      1) Allow an side grade.

      2) Buy an Android based set top box.
      Bruizer
  • Motorola wouldn't know how to make money with a money printing machine..

    lets be real here.. Moto is going to be a huge black hole for money for Google...
    theFunkDoctorSpoc
  • RE: Google's home entertainment foray: Why the Motorola deal may work

    I don't see it. The geeks are eating up the whole streaming InternetTV thing. But general folk don't seem to want the two together. I say it will end up where Google, Apple and MS have. Geeks/Gamers and that's about it so my real-world observations are.
    ItsTheBottomLine
    • RE: Google's home entertainment foray: Why the Motorola deal may work

      @ItsTheBottomLine

      I'm not so sure about that. Roku and Boxee not to mention Amazon Streaming are proof that people do want some sort of Internet TV. The problem comes if we get a repeat of the cable industry: originally no commercials because of paid content. Then flipping the script and paying for television while still sitting thru commercials.

      Unfortunately, I think this will happen. Just look at the Hulu Plus subscription. Paying for streaming TV yet forced to sit thru commercials. That's why I dropped Hulu.
      tallbruva
    • its not that its not wanted

      @ItsTheBottomLine

      As someone who cut the cable years ago, and ONLY uses streaming via a roku right now, i can say i have had a LOT of regular non-geeky people ask how to do it. The problem isnt that they dont want to switch, its that the media companies do everything they can to squash the technology. Look at companies like STARZ pulling out of netflix to make their own streaming service. The best example is TNT, who goes through SOOO much trouble to block streaming you cant even view it unless you are using a specific cable company!
      The video media companies are making the same mistake the music industry made, and the results are going to be the same. They need to realize their profits need to take a hit, people have been gouged long enough.
      pantherfan690
    • its not that its not wanted

      @ItsTheBottomLine

      As someone who cut the cable years ago, and ONLY uses streaming via a roku right now, i can say i have had a LOT of regular non-geeky people ask how to do it. The problem isnt that they dont want to switch, its that the media companies do everything they can to squash the technology. Look at companies like STARZ pulling out of netflix to make their own streaming service. The best example is TNT, who goes through SOOO much trouble to block streaming you cant even view it unless you are using a specific cable company!
      The video media companies are making the same mistake the music industry made, and the results are going to be the same. They need to realize their profits need to take a hit, people have been gouged long enough.
      pantherfan690
    • its not that its not wanted

      @ItsTheBottomLine

      As someone who cut the cable years ago, and ONLY uses streaming via a roku right now, i can say i have had a LOT of regular non-geeky people ask how to do it. The problem isnt that they dont want to switch, its that the media companies do everything they can to squash the technology. Look at companies like STARZ pulling out of netflix to make their own streaming service. The best example is TNT, who goes through SOOO much trouble to block streaming you cant even view it unless you are using a specific cable company!
      The video media companies are making the same mistake the music industry made, and the results are going to be the same. They need to realize their profits need to take a hit, people have been gouged long enough.
      pantherfan690
  • Poor research

    He's mixing up Motorola Mobility and Motorola Solutions. It could be that Google is doing something with Motorola Solutions, but buying mobile doesn't give them automatic entre into the STB space.
    tkejlboom
    • RE: Google's home entertainment foray: Why the Motorola deal may work

      @tkejlboom Exactly! Motorola Solutions makes set-top boxes, not Motorola Mobility. After Motorola split they are considered two different companies.
      statuskwo5
  • In case you havent noticed yet moto sucks at in home hardware

    Have you ever had a settop box you liked? Or that was quiet? Or that updated itself in a non frustrating way? The last moto hw that was decent was the original razr. The new one is/was a complete pos. Notice how theyve already had to rev it again. Here's a hint on buying home entertainment hw, if it has venting holes cut in the case and a fan, keep waiting. The only exception is amplifiers. For a dvr, streaming media player, etc. wait or your getting something obsolete.
    Johnny Vegas