Google buys Motorola Mobility and its patent portfolio for $12.5 billion

Google buys Motorola Mobility and its patent portfolio for $12.5 billion

Summary: Google is buying Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion in cash, which puts the search giant firmly in competition with the major Android device makers.

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Google has stunned those watching the mobile space with the announcement today that it has purchased Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion in cash. Motorola was early onto the Android platform and has gone all in with it over other alternatives. Motorola CEO Sanjay Jha recently indicated that the company might be looking to bring its patent portfolio to go after other Android device makers; those companies should be breathing a little easier now that Google owns those patents.

Motorola Mobility will be operated as a separate company according to the blog post announcement by Google:

This acquisition will not change our commitment to run Android as an open platform. Motorola will remain a licensee of Android and Android will remain open. We will run Motorola as a separate business. Many hardware partners have contributed to Android’s success and we look forward to continuing to work with all of them to deliver outstanding user experiences.

It is not clear how Google can remain a business partner with the likes of HTC and Samsung while directly competing with them as Motorola. It also makes one wonder why Google has remained relatively hands-off (on the surface) in the legal challenges that HTC and Samsung have endured on Android's behalf. That might be looked into by the authorities that must approve the Google purchase of Motorola Mobility.

The new Google/Motorola venture will surely give HTC and Samsung, both suffering from legal battles over the use of Android, a reason to pause and perhaps think things over. The two companies have been defending Android and their use of the platform on Google's behalf, and now Google is a major competitor. The tenuous legal position of Android just got a lot more confused for them.

Image credit: Flickr users futureshape and mjmonty

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Topics: Google, Mobility, Security, Wi-Fi

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20 comments
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  • RE: Google buys Motorola Mobility and its patent portfolio for $12.5 billion

    This should make one think it is not a bad choice after all for Nokia to go with Microsoft. Will HTC and Samsung change their steer back to MS phone camp?
    jeo4long
  • RE: Google buys Motorola Mobility and its patent portfolio for $12.5 billion

    Please, Google isn't going to attack its base, who do you think they are Apple?!? This is about Patents and licensing to protect Android.

    This does present an issue though as the next in the Nexus Line is likely to be a Motorola Phone.
    slickjim
  • RE: Google buys Motorola Mobility and its patent portfolio for $12.5 billion

    Wow, from a market standpoint this is huge!

    From a personal standpoint, maybe Google will be a little more open on not shove as many bloatware services into the "kernel AOS" on future Moto products.
    changeforge
  • WP7 looks a whole lot better to these partners

    Nokia must be patting themselves on the back for partnering with Microsoft. i see strategy of Microsoft partners working really closely with Android partners to flood the market with WP7 devices to the point its your only choice. I am sure the Android partners are p****d with this decision to buy Motorola though. You can't be both our OS provider and competitor.
    adacosta38
    • Good point

      @adacosta38
      [i]I am sure the Android partners are p****d with this decision to buy Motorola though. You can't be both our OS provider and competitor[/i]

      Good point. For the same reason MS does not create it's own branded Windows PC.
      John Zern
      • RE: Google buys Motorola Mobility and its patent portfolio for $12.5 billion

        @John Zern MS did try with a phone (Kin) and has done branded hardware before (Zune, X-Box). Just because MS has not SUCCESSFULLY done WinPhone, doesn't mean they won't try / want to.
        tbuccelli
    • re: WP7 looks a whole lot better to these partners

      @adacosta38 <br><br>But no better to consumers, which matters. Hence the sales figures.
      Return_of_the_jedi
    • RE: Google buys Motorola Mobility and its patent portfolio for $12.5 billion

      @adacosta38
      Google could have gotten Nokia a whole lot cheaper than Motorola ;-) !
      jkohut
      • RE: Google buys Motorola Mobility and its patent portfolio for $12.5 billion

        @jkohut Since Nokia's currently worth about twice the amount Google paid for Android, that's a bit unlikely
        DJL64
  • RE: Google buys Motorola Mobility and its patent portfolio for $12.5 billion

    No more Motorola phones for me because of this deal. I do not want Google in my life tracking everything I do, and this hardware deal gives them the power to do that. This is an antitrust suit waiting to happen.
    LoverockDavidson
    • RE: Google buys Motorola Mobility and its patent portfolio for $12.5 billion

      @LoverockDavidson
      Ah Loverrock, we know, you have committed yourself to MS and having THEM track your every move....
      tbuccelli
  • RE: Google buys Motorola Mobility and its patent portfolio for $12.5 billion

    "Mobility", ,, like in Handicapped Mobility ?
    "I" wheelchair person.
    rollbob
  • RE: Google buys Motorola Mobility and its patent portfolio for $12.5 billion

    This not about Google competing with HTC and Samsung but more about protecting Android which is something all Google partners including HTC and Samsung should be happy about. Remember all the money MS collects from HTC for using Android. Now HTC can go back to MS and demand to lower those costs in exchange for using the patents that Moto or Google has now.
    I would not be surprise if Google eventually sells the manufacturing part of Moto and keeps the patents.
    mktpostal@...
    • RE: Google buys Motorola Mobility and its patent portfolio for $12.5 billion

      @mktpostal@... and motrola is already fighting patent lawsuite against microsoft, it makes no sense. it will soon be google vs microsoft and I only see google loosing against microsoft both as an OEM and as a andorid papa :)
      abhi.jamwal
  • Missing the bigger picture

    One of the topics I've not seen mentioned is the slow realization that handsets are now IT devices, not telecom devices. Now we have Apple, HP, and Google in driver's seat instead of the Nokia, Motorola and Ericcson of old. Once Nokia is snapped up, it will be the end of the line for the old-time telecom business.
    terry flores
    • RE: Google buys Motorola Mobility and its patent portfolio for $12.5 billion

      @terry flores Excellent point. Even the 2nd tier handset makers are computer makers, not phone makers. My Droid is an Acer. I don't think they used to make phones at all.
      dimonic
  • RE: Google buys Motorola Mobility and its patent portfolio for $12.5 billion

    so does that mean microsoft is now the strongest...they have nokia, HTC is starting to tilt in microsoft's favour, samsung with apple lawuite and google not helping have nowhere else to go.....LG has little say. I can only see microsoft paying 700 million to make google shell out 12.5 billion for motorola and soon will start paying microsoft directly for each android device sold.....lol
    abhi.jamwal
  • RE: Google buys Motorola Mobility and its patent portfolio for $12.5 billion

    Does the Google acquisition of Motorola expose RIM, the maker of blackberry as a sitting duck? Will MS acquire RIM, and force Google to shell out more of their cash reserves to protect Android? This is shaping up to be a classic battle between two heavyweights, and hopefully this means a win for the consumer.
    Y.B.Normal
  • RE: Google buys Motorola Mobility and its patent portfolio for $12.5 billion

    The patent plot thickens. Hopefully,this provides Google with a deep enough patent portfolio to thwart Apples increasingly aggressive stance.
    oskar401
    • Sorry but that is wrong

      @oskar401 MotoMob has no 3G or 4G patents they can use defensively and most companies have already license the technology so that makes them almost useless.<br><br>In the end, even looking at the best case scenario for Google, the patents will only protect MotoMob's products. Because unless Google pays to license any technology/patent that Android violates and they own the right to re-license them, it would be as if nothing changed.
      wackoae