Google just announced the huge purchase of Motorola’s Mobility division, the makers of popular mobile phones like the ‘Droid’ series, for $12.5 billion. This acquisition represents Google’s largest yet, and is being labeled as a strategic move to solidify the place of Google’s Android mobile OS as well as acquire thousands of mobile-related patents in Motorola’s portfolio.
The massive purchase has already set off a series of pro and anti-Google sentiments from consumers, techies, and Google’s competitors. Here’s a recap of some of the pros and cons of the Motorola Mobility purchase.
PRO: Motorola Phones Will Get Better
Now that Google has thrown itself into the pot of mobile hardware makers, it will benefit it’s Android experience in a number of ways. First, Google will be able to have complete control over Motorola phones: preventing the current practice of clogging a new release with bloatware and pushing towards more of a pure, unlocked Android experience. This has got to be good for the consumer experience, especially those that are purchasing Motorola phones.
PRO: Competitive Bar Will Be Raised for Android Manufactures
This will also drastically effect the competitive sphere within hardware manufacturers on the Android OS. There’s no doubt that Google will be creating high performing Motorola phones that leverage the full power of Android with very little gimmicks. This will push other Android manufacturers like HTC and Samsung to raise their bar for performance and take full advantage of the OS.
CON: Other Android Hardware Manufacturers Can’t Be Happy
Companies like HTC and Samsung can’t be happy with this purchase; after all, they are building their devices on Google’s Mobile OS. Although Google has said that they will run Motorola Mobility as a ‘separate company,’ other mobile manufactures will probably take that statement with a grain of salt. How can Google truthfully say they won’t gain a competitive advantage over other companies that are running hardware on their own operating system?
PRO: The Purchase Could Help Even Out The Ongoing Patent Wars
Over the past several months, it has become clear that Microsoft, Apple and Oracle are waging a war to keep the Android OS from continuing to gain market share. This has been done by them buying a range of patents from Nortell and Novell that were directly related to the mobile / cell radio spectrum. This has been seen by some as an anti-competitive strategy, as the sole reason of the purchase has been to keep the patents out of Google’s hands.
In addition, some of these patents would even force handset makers to pay license fees to Microsoft. With Google’s acquisition of Motorola, they gain thousands of mobile-related patents that will help them even the playing ground and continue the expansion of the open (and competitive) Android ecosystem.
CON: Patent Litigation Will Continue as Always
Litigation will likely continue between Google, Microsoft and Apple in the mobile sphere despite Google’s patent purchase. Motorola Mobility was already facing patent litigation prior to the Google purchase, so those problems will continue along with the new ones that the competition is bound to dust up over the next several months.
In addition, although Google has deemed their competitor’s hoarding of patents as ‘anti-competitive,’ the FCC and other companies are likely to see Google’s recent actions with a similar suspicious eye.