The long courtship is over. Just days after securing conditional approval from China, Google’s 12.5 billion dollar acquisition of US-based Motorola Mobility is complete. Google announced the news on its official blog, taking special care to note the replacement of former Moto CEO Sanjay Jha. Unfortunately, the post was noticeably lacking in concrete details on how Google plans to leverage its new (if not overly shiny) multi-billion dollar toy.
From Google CEO Larry Page:
…I’m excited to announce today that our Motorola Mobility deal has closed. Motorola is a great American tech company that has driven the mobile revolution, with a track record of over 80 years of innovation, including the creation of the first cell phone. We all remember Motorola’s StarTAC, which at the time seemed tiny and showed the real potential of these devices. And as a company who made a big, early bet on Android, Motorola has become an incredibly valuable partner to Google.
Page also confirmed that current Google SVP Dennis Woodside will take over as CEO of Motorola Mobility. Woodside’s experience with Google is primarily in advertising, increasing Google’s revenue in the American ad market by 75%, and he’s apparently been instrumental in the months-long acquisition process. Woodside’s experience in the mobile field, and in hardware in particular, is unproven.
Google has insisted for some time that Motorola will operate as an independent company after the acquisition, though the appointment of a Google inside man to the company’s highest post casts doubt upon that. After all, Jha led the company through the “DROID” era, literally saving it from disaster. Those hoping for a true first-party manufacturer for Android have been disappointed in the last few months as Motorola has kept its dogged dedication to Blur and other “skins”, and refused to unlock bootloaders against carriers’ wishes.
Will Motorola be Google brand in paperwork only? Plenty of pundits have speculated that the purchase was for Motorola’s impressive patent portfolio, something that Page alluded to with his references to the StarTAC. It’s unlikely that we’ll see a portfolio of Nexus-style devices, though one or two many be incoming as Google changes its strategy. We’ll be keeping a close eye on these corporate bedfellows in the coming months – it’ll be interesting to see if anything comes out of Google I/O in July.