Google to acquire Motorola Mobility – we live in interesting times

by | Aug 15, 2011 | Intranets

Google today announced that it would be acquiring Motorola Mobility for around $12bn, with the deal closing at the end of 2011 or early 2012.  Larry Page seems confused about just what he has bought, as his press release referred to the acquisition of Motorola, which no longer exists, though Motorola Solutions does. The headlong rush into high-end mobile solutions continues, even though there are now some serious issues about the delays in the USA and in the UK and the rest of Europe in auctioning off wireless spectrum. No spectrum means no 100Mb/sec broadband on a country-wide basis.

Quite how Google is going to manage its relationships with the rest of the Android community remains to be seen. At present everyone is saying that it will make no difference – if that’s the case why did Google buy the business? Well, one reason is to gain access to a vast collection of patents.  At present patents are being used very agressively at slowing down competitors, as  Samsung are currently finding out.  It may also put some pressure on Microsoft to decide whether to acquire all of Nokia, though I can’t see that happening.  RIM’s shareprice took a hit on opening this morning, but given the stock is around $24, down from a 52 week high of $69 the remaining shareholders are probably hanging around for an exit strategy.

The deal certainly confirms that the market is a three-horse race of Apple, Google and Microsoft. It also probably strengthens the capabilities of the Android camp as Motorola Mobility had some very bright people on board and they now (soon) work for Google. There is the usual rhetoric in the press release that Motorola Mobility will be run as a separate company.  They all say that!

For the enterprise mobile market the announcement just confirms how serious Google is in playing the enterprise game. Motorola still has a high brand strength amongst the current generation of CIOs and CTOs brought up on pcs with Motorola chip sets and of course the company was a pioneer in the mobile handset business.  That brand strength may have wained a bit but a Google/Motorola mobile platform may seem pretty risk free compared to the closed society that is Apple and the sometimes painfully slow innovation machine that Microsoft has become.  So make no mistake, enterprise mobility is still a potentially massive market opportunity. The choice may just have got a bit smaller but certainly no easier. All the more reason to come to my sessions at JBoye in Aarhus or Intrateam in Copenhagen. later this year.  By then the dust may have settled, but I doubt it.

Martin White