Google buys Motorola Mobility: next shot in patent war
OTOH: It's all about the patents, baby
Published 15:46, 15 August 11
Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) is to acquire Motorola Mobility (NYSE:MMI) in a £7.7 billion deal. The maker of Android smartphones and tablets is attractive, thanks to its large patent portfolio. It also makes TV set-top boxes, which aligns with Google's fledgeling Google TV effort.
- On the one hand, this should help Google fight Apple's and Microsoft's intellectual property war.
- On The Other Hand, if I was another Android-using manufacturer, or a Google TV partner, I'd be worried right now.
Plus, today's skateboarding duck: Dodging thunderstorms in the Electric Jet...
Mikael Ricknäs repörts, with Jeremy Kirk:
Motorola Mobility exclusively ships phones and its Xoom tablet with Google's Android operating system. ... Google will also have control of Motorola's...patent portfolio. ... Motorola Mobility said earlier this year that it owns about 24,500 patents.
But the deal may also create tension with other [Android] mobile phone manufacturers such as HTC and Samsung. ... The company will run Motorola Mobility...as a separate business, Google said. The transaction is expected to close at the end of this year or early next year.
Tony Romm thinks regulation:
The acquisition — likely to face strict scrutiny from regulators worldwide — will...give Google control of Motorola Mobility's sizable patent pool. ... [It's] sure to receive due attention from regulators, both in the United States and elsewhere. ... However, representatives from Google expressed optimism the deal would receive a final green light.
The acquisition will have Google pay about $40 per share in Motorola Mobility, marking about a 63 percent premium. ... Motorola Mobility, estimated its pool at 17,000 patents issued...7,500 patents now pending.
While Google would not discuss patent strategy going forward, [this] follows a high-profile battle...over patents owned by Nortel. Google lost that fight to companies like Microsoft and Apple.
So Shira Ovide muses on vertical integration:
Google could go the Apple vertical route if it clinches ownership of Motorola['s]...phones, tablet computers and TV set top boxes.
[Operating] Motorola as a separate company...of course is a plan that is less likely to annoy the phone-handset makers that have been Google’s partners. ... But we’ll take Google at its word. What it really wants...is its guts: the patents...mentioned 24 times on Google’s conference call this morning.
Meanwhile, Ken Auletta implies Google is the Big, Bad Wolf:
[This] will, and should, be a cause of anxiety for platform and content companies. ... Although Google says [this] will not grant [MMI] most-favored-nation treatment, don’t be surprised if few believe this.
[The] Mountain View company [has] worked strenuously...to demonstrate that its platform was a neutral Switzerland. This...announcement will instill fear that Google is a combatant.
Today's Skateboarding Duck...
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Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. His writing has previously won American Society of Business Publication Editors and Jesse H. Neal awards. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, you can also read Richi's full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.