Many industry insiders, not the least of whom being Motorola's competitors, have worried that Google's acquisition of Motorola Mobility might make the hardware company the "golden child" of the Android universe. Google chairman Eric Schmidt gave an interview this weekend, assuaging fears and assuring investors that the stability of Android is paramount. Google, he said, is committed to Android as a whole, and will not play favorites - sort of.
Schmidt was quoted as saying the following:
The Android ecosystem is the No. 1 priority, and that we won’t do anything with Motorola, or anybody else by the way, that would screw up the dynamics of that industry. We need strong, hard competition among all the Android players. We won’t play favorites in the way people are concerned about.
That last clause, "in the way people are concerned about," may indeed be cause for concern. Samsung certainly thinks so - they gave a statement earlier last week saying that they "can't rely on Google" for patent protection. Not surprising, given that Samsung has been the hardest hit by Apple's worldwide lawsuits. Microsoft, which has licensing agreements with both HTC and Samsung, rakes in an estimated $444 million a year off of the "free" Android OS. Schmidt mentioned the 17,000 mobile patents that Google received from the Motorola purchase in the interview.
It's important to note that flagship "pure" Android devices have come from all three of the biggest Android manufacturers thus far - HTC had the Nexus One, Motorola had the XOOM and Samsung has the Nexus S (and if rumors can be believed, the Nexus Prime as well). Google's strategy for its intellectual property going forward is a "rough truce". "From our perspective, we will end up having enough patents that we can end up with a rough truce with everybody else, which is how it’s done," said Schmidt. The executive said that he does not know when such a truce might be achieved.