Google's Motorola buy could spell trouble for Android partners

By now, you’ve no doubt seen the news: Google intends to acquire Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion. What this will do is not only give Google access to Motorola’s vast patent library consisting of nearly 25,000 patents, but it will also give Google an end-to-end hardware and software strategy with smartphones, tablets and even with Google TV. The thing is, Google didn’t need to buy Motorola. Google could have just licensed the patents from Motorola. Google bought Motorola because it felt like control of the Android experience was slipping away. It’s apparent that one Nexus-like device from Google a year won’t be enough — MOTOBLUR has probably given Andy Rubin ulcers — and it’s apparent that a company that’s leading in many areas of the smartphone arena wants to control that entire experience. Open or not, it is Google’s, after all. Smartphones and tablets are also going to be the biggest categories in technology for the foreseeable future, and if you think Google is just going to play around with that, well, you obviously haven’t seen the company’s recent moves. Read on for more.

HTC, Samsung, LG, and other manufacturers are probably pissed. Regardless of any protection they might receive from Google owning Motorola’s patent library, and regardless of recent official comments, they are now not only competing with one of the best Android device vendors, but also with Google itself. The end result? You’re going to see HTC, Samsung and LG continue to buy up as many Beats-like companies as possible to further differentiate their Android experiences, because they’re not going to have anything else to offer pretty soon. There are only so many ways to physically differentiate a touchscreen device, and with Google in control of its own hardware, software and services, differentiation could become the key to other partners’ survival  the Android ecosystem.

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