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.
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.