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Google and Samsung need each other more than ever

Published Jan 29th, 2014 4:51PM EST

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There’s a lot to digest in the shocking news that broke Wednesday that Google plans to unload Motorola onto Lenovo for $3 billion. But when you take a step back and put it within the context of several other developments that we’ve seen over the last week, then something becomes incredibly clear: Google and Samsung need one another more than ever.

Let’s start off with the news from Monday that Google and Samsung have signed what amounts to a 10-year patent nonaggression pact that will see the companies cross-license one another’s technologies for the next decade. Next, let’s recall that Japan’s biggest carrier has already bailed on Tizen, the Android alternative that Samsung had been hoping would give it an app ecosystem that would add more value to its line of products. Oh, and let’s not forget that Google is rumored to be killing off its Nexus brand of devices that has produced hit tablets such as the Nexus 7.

And finally, consider the news that broke on Wednesday that Google has apparently convinced Samsung to tone down some of the excessive gimmick features that it’s included in its recent Galaxy devices and to make the user experience much more like the “pure Android” that Google promotes through its Google Play Edition smartphones. And now we’re learning that Google wants to dump Motorola into Lenovo’s arms for less than a quarter of what it originally paid for the one-time mobile icon.

Add it all up and it looks like Google and Samsung have realized that they need each other more than ever and that they should forge a closer working relationship with one another to keep Android as the world’s top mobile OS and to keep Samsung devices as the world’s top sellers. How this relationship plays out will be fascinating to watch going forward and it will be particularly interesting to see how Microsoft decides to react given that it’s been courting Samsung heavily to make more Windows Phones.

Brad Reed
Brad Reed Staff Writer

Brad Reed has written about technology for over eight years at and Network World. Prior to that, he wrote freelance stories for political publications such as AlterNet and the American Prospect. He has a Master's Degree in Business and Economics Journalism from Boston University.