22
May
motorola_droid_x1

Today, Google announced that its acquisition of Motorola Mobility had officially closed. Make no mistake, this merger is something of a shotgun arrangement - and the offspring conceived out of wedlock is Android. So, how did we get here, two and a half years after the first DROID?

A Brief History Of Motorola And Android

Motorola was once Google's model manufacturer partner. At least in the US, it produced what was the most popular "first generation" Android smartphone, the original Motorola DROID. The OG DROID was responsible for "hooking" many people on the operating system, whether through endlessly modifying and tweaking the device, or simply for its stellar build quality and reliability (those things were little tanks), it was truly the work-horse that first brought Android into the hands of a large number of people here in the US.

By the end of 2010, HTC had begun to outpace Moto in total device sales, though the company held on to the second place spot in the share of Android device manufacturers in the US until 2011, when Samsung muscled its way to top of the charts. Devices like the EVO 4G and Samsung's Galaxy S quickly took a chunk out of Motorola. Even the preemptive full-touchscreen strike that was the DROID X, and most phones thereafter, couldn't seem to propel Motorola back to the top.

After commercial and critical flops like the DROID X2, BIONIC, ATRIX, and a number of would-be BlackBerry candybar keyboard phones, Motorola's situation went from bad to worse. It seemed Moto just couldn't keep up. Huge community outcries against its device-locking policies haven't helped the company's image among enthusiasts, either,  and its decision not to update two of its more recent handsets to Ice Cream Sandwich has owners in a furor. Regardless of the validity of these grievances, one thing is clear - Motorola Mobility, if not for Google sweeping in, probably wasn't on track to make a revolutionary turnaround.

While the RAZR and RAZR MAXX have proven to be much more successful devices in terms of garnering critical acclaim for the company, they seemingly haven't helped it compete against its primary foes - Motorola is down to a mere 10% of the smartphone market in the US. Here's the current smartphone sales picture in America (Q1 2012):

NPD-Telecom-Fact-Sheet--CES-2012

Source: NDP

For Q1 2012, Motorola managed to boost its smartphone sales year over year by 25%, to 5.1 million handsets, most of them sold in the US and China. Obviously, this hasn't been enough to keep up with the Joneses. Samsung, especially, has seen massive growth in the past year. But let's rewind for a moment.

The Buyout: Sophie's Choice

When Google announced its acquisition of Motorola back in August, some people (rightly) asked the big question: "Why?" The company certainly wasn't doing well (and has only lost market share since), and Google seemingly had it good letting its various manufacturer partners vie for market share, resulting in an Android-dominated smartphone ecosystem.

Then, it came out that things were, well, complicated. Patents were one of the major concerns Google actually expressed after the purchase - Larry Page himself said that "anticompetitive" behavior from the likes of Microsoft and Apple necessitated purchasing MMI to protect Android against those who would seek to use Moto's IP against the platform. Prior to the acquisition, one of Moto's biggest shareholders was prodding the board into selling off the company's patent portfolio piecemeal to give the firm additional liquidity. Suddenly, hindsight!

Who would have bought these patents? Microsoft. RIM. Apple. Basically, anyone with an interest in using them against Google and its partners. Just like they did with the Nortel patents. In fact, Microsoft was apparently interested in just buying Motorola altogether.

But given Mr. Icahn's very public endorsement of Moto selling off its IP - why didn't Google just pursue that route? It did, but Motorola didn't want to play ball. Motorola would have gotten a raw deal selling off its patents to Google, and while it may have been able to assert immunity from infringing them (a corporate "lifetime," non-transferable license), the patents were worth more to Moto in an offensive capacity. There's some truth to this - settling big patent lawsuits depends on the ability of both parties to assert infringement, meaning both parties have to own patents they can sue on. If Moto sold off its portfolio, it'd be a sitting duck for the likes of Apple and Microsoft.

It might, then, have been the more intelligent choice in the mind of CEO Sanjay Jha to just tell Google "buy us, or we'll sell to someone else." Jha admitted to being open to the idea of producing Windows Phone hardware, but clearly wanted the company to have other options (read: Android) on the table. But given Motorola's increasingly poor fiscal performance, it's likely the company's major shareholders were starting to look at more drastic measures to counteract the downturn (or cash out), such as the aforementioned IP sale.

But this explanation takes only one dimension of the buyout into account - why would Google, rather than attempt to hash out an IP deal, or wait for Jha to be ousted, take on a multi-billion dollar company (one not making a profit, mind you) just to get its intellectual property?

Backdoor Dealings, Huawei, And Furniture

That's when the rumors that Google was planning to flip Motorola's hardware business to Huawei started - a move that, as Forbes pointed out, sounds "logical." And logical it is - Google has never run a hardware company (though it does build some its own networking equipment), hell, it doesn't even really have any experience "selling" anything to consumers.

Considering Motorola's active presence in China, and Huawei's desire to have a larger US footprint, such a deal would make perfect sense. Of course, the federal government might have something to say about that - it has been notoriously suspicious of the Chinese firm, and basically prevented it from engaging in network hardware contracts in the US out of security concerns. Australia outright banned Huawei from bidding on a major network project in the country.

It seems unlikely that the FTC would be able to ignore the political pressure associated with a large, state-supported (Huawei receives loans with no or almost no interest from the Chinese government) Chinese corporation attempting to buy an iconic American brand. While logical, the idea of Google getting such a deal through regulatory hurdles seems almost insurmountable, if not a case of explicit bad faith in its purchase of Moto in the first place. It's also just not going to happen, based on new information - Google is making moves, restructuring Moto's management and products in big ways. There's no reason at this point to think Google isn't in this for the long play.

So, did Google really do it just for the patents? That's a bit like buying a foreclosed estate for the antique furniture and jewelry inside. Is it valuable, even unique? Sure. Is it worth buying real estate just to get your hands on it? Probably not. Does that mean this deal was cold, calculating, and well-thought-out, then? Not necessarily. In fact, the story of the deal's conception makes it sound like a reactive impulse-buy. It took Google and Motorola five days to hash out the terms, and the deal was conducted at the behest of Andy Rubin (after Google lost out on the Nortel patents), by Larry Page and Sanjay Jha personally. Rubin's first suggestion, apparently, was simply to buy Moto's patents, but Jha said no, and convinced Page to go for the "whole kit and kaboodle." Clearly, bigger things were afoot.

When Motorola Gives You Lemons...

Motorola Mobility is a major corporation - with over 20,000 employees working in 92 large facilities (and many smaller ones) in 97 countries. That kind of capital investment doesn't go away overnight, and it doesn't stop costing money just because Andy Rubin doesn't care about it. "Firewall" or not, Google has to do something with Motorola's hardware business, and it's going to have to get its hands dirty doing it. Right now, Motorola isn't turning a profit - and that must scare the bejesus out of Google's investors. The company may be generating well over $10 billion in revenue a year, but the bigger they are, the harder they fall - a sudden downturn in Moto's numbers could become a major financial liability for Google.

To say this $12 billion decision was a quick and dirty IP protection scheme does a disservice to the fact that Larry Page has shown he has big ideas for Google - ones that he isn't afraid to put in motion. To say that IP was anything but the reason the deal was put into motion in the first place is naïve; clearly, that's how this all got started. Google needed, or really wanted, those patents - but buying the whole of Motorola Mobility presented a new and interesting option for the company, and probably at a bargain-basement price, considering the separate value of the IP already at stake, as well as Motorola's financial state.

No doubt, Andy Rubin is the big cheese when it comes to all things Android development-related at Google, but by no means is he the man with the last word on all decisions related to it. Larry Page has made it very clear he's willing to kick ass and take names to keep Google relevant - often whether people seem to like it or not. Google+ is the most aggressively pushed product in the company's history - Google seems to almost flat out ignore the complaints of users that say the service has become too difficult to separate from products like Gmail and Search.

The acquisition of Motorola is yet another radical move by the new CEO, and it would be silly to believe that Page made the decision merely because of Rubin's growing concern over patents. And yet, that seems to be what so many people were suggesting, at least until Google spoke up in the past week.

While Page's statement on the importance of "anticompetitive" behavior from Apple and Microsoft, and therefore of the IP portfolio it acquired as part of the deal, would have supported such a conclusion, almost everything else we've heard to date does not. Page himself said at a town-hall meeting with Moto employees last year basically the exact opposite:

“It’s actually easier to make tremendous progress sometimes the more ambitious you are ... If you’re trying to do something kind of incremental, like a little bit similar to what you did before, it’s actually hard to get people excited about it.”

In other words: prepare for changes. Big ones.

Big Plans

What comes next? Trimming the fat, obviously. Google has a reputation for cutting down on workforces in its acquisitions - such as it did with AdMob, when it laid off about 8% of the company's employees. Compared to Motorola, AdMob was tiny. Motorola has active businesses in broadband modems, set top boxes, smartphones, dumbphones, and tablets. Some of these divisions can probably be reduced in size significantly, if not sold off entirely.

Well over half of the company's sales revenue is tied to its phone business, with the second-largest chunk going to set-top boxes. Smartphones now make up nearly 60% of all the company's handset sales. Google would do well to spin off the modem business to Cisco or Netgear, along with any patents related to the division. The set top box and dumbphone sectors are equally appealing targets for a little corporate austerity, but those might come into play later.

But the big picture plan? Getting Moto's ass in gear and putting out some awesome hardware. Eric Schmidt has put Google employee and former head of DARPA Regina Dugan in charge of a brand-new R&D unit at Motorola called the "Advanced Technology and Projects Group" (ATAP), with a focus on getting new, cool tech into phones fast.  Says Dugan, "We are going to build a small, lean, Skunkworks-like group that is not afraid of failure." It's this kind of attitude that makes me love the idea of Google taking over a traditional corporation - they aren't afraid to break stuff.

Google has already put a new CEO in place (Dennis Woodside), and he's axed more than half of Moto's board in preparation for the switch. Woodside has made it clear his job isn't to sit idly by, it's to start moving things around - "My job is to make Motorola as successful as possible and deliver innovative hardware as a licensee of Android." He's also committed to cutting down on Motorola's expansive product portfolio, something sorely needed in its smartphone division.

Many took Andy Rubin's comments that Google would keep Moto "at arm's length" to mean from the whole of Google. In fact, Rubin was talking about the Android team. This is kind of a "duh" decision - Google does not want to alienate major allies like Samsung and HTC by providing Motorola preferential access and attention when it comes to Android. And it won't - approvals of the deal in the US, Europe, and China rely on it.

Andy Rubin has historically wanted Google to take as "hands-off" an approach with Android licensees as possible, and focused heavily on device activation figures as compared to the quality of Android-powered products (we're also talking about someone who didn't think the Market was all that "important"). Rubin actually said the following at MWC in February:

It would be “completely insane” to try to turn Motorola, which currently has “single-digit” market share in Android mobile handsets, into the dominant player. “It just isn’t going to happen,” he said, adding that “the way Android’s going to continue to be successful is to be neutral.”

WSJ

Something tells me Larry Page has other ideas about how this acquisition is going to play out. This isn't Andy Rubin's project, though, and his "firewall" comment has made that clear - he has and will have nothing to do with Motorola for the foreseeable future. Just because Motorola can't work with the Android team directly doesn't mean Google isn't going to make sure Motorola puts out the best damn Android phones it can. And make no mistake - Google is now directly competing with its licensing partners Samsung, HTC, and LG, despite whatever Andy Rubin might say about "neutrality."

This isn't some fleeting marriage based on patents - it's an attempt to change the game.

David Ruddock
David's phone is whatever is currently sitting on his desk. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.

  • http://www.facebook.com/YAYSAVERGN Eric James Salcido

    I hope they kill motoblur/ninjablur whateverthatshitiscalled and stop locking their damned bootloaders.

    • http://twitter.com/eaminet Zoltan Bihari

       and start selling all their stuff in Europe too :)

      • MysticMagican

        like droid 3 and 4 ? want that too.. but phones with physical keyboards aren´t wanted by the customers in europe. said some so called market viewers... bull*hit!
        i want! 4 of my friends wants too - they own all a droid (or milestone as we say in the old world ^^)...

        so realize that there are no digital borders! i want everything everywhere, we can talk later about the price. no matter what it costs, if it isn´t awailable, it isn´t available...

      • MysticMagican

        like droid 3 and 4 ? want that too.. but phones with physical keyboards aren´t wanted by the customers in europe. said some so called market viewers... bull*hit!
        i want! 4 of my friends wants too - they own all a droid (or milestone as we say in the old world ^^)...

        so realize that there are no digital borders! i want everything everywhere, we can talk later about the price. no matter what it costs, if it isn´t awailable, it isn´t available...

    • r3drox

      yeah. those bootloader policies have got to go! 

  • alexcue

    These are the posts that keep me coming back to AP. You guys are like The Verge of Android news. Thanks for the great read!

    • Jon

      Exactly my thoughts! I followed a lot of the editors that left Engadget over to The Verge because I really enjoyed their articles and writing styles. I come here because they have the best damn articles on anything android related. Also I love Ron's comically harsh phone reviews lol

      • John

        +1. Top Android site by far.

      • Ron Amadeo

        <3

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Does that make David the Topolsky of Android?

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=502220486 Safwan Chowdhury

        only if you are really awkward during in person interviews and continuously talk over the person you are interviewing to slide in an extra joke haha. 

        great article and awesome site!

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

          I may or may not do one or both of those things.

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

          I may or may not do one or both of those things.

      • http://richworks.in Richie

        Put on those hispter glasses and wear short pants like Josh.. That should be it :)

    • Kidheated

      word.

    • Bas

      Yeah the only thing I dislike about The Verge is that they're mostly Apple fans.
      I got sick when I saw their website after the 'New iPad' announcement. 

  • https://twitter.com/#!/psycho_maniac_ Jerry Lange

    GoogleTv on there set top boxes would be sweet!

  • fixxmyhead

    sorry as long as samsung keeps pumping out galaxy s phones there always gonna be top dog. # 1 OEM 

    • sgtguthrie

      So it's all about the name for you???

      :-

      • fixxmyhead

        No its about them making superior hardware than the rest. S2, s3, note, nexus, all really great phones. I don't see anyone else making alot of good phones like Samsung. Plus can't beat exynos >everything else

        • atinsley

          Motorola hardware (screens withstanding) usually has a build quality to it that Samsung has never matched. Their problem has always been software. Now, if Google could fix the software issue, Motorola phones start looking pretty good! Oh, and stop using shitty screens Motorola.

    • Northstar17

      It seems Google agrees with you so your comment it is sort of redundant, is it not? Google is going vertical as their major competitors already are.

  • Lateef

    Make a Droid RAZR Maxx with stock android, give it the nexus branding, google has my money

    • KreeTerry

      hell give a razr maxx with an unlockable bootloader and youll have about everyone i know's money.  i can put AOSP on it if you just give me an unlockable bootloader

  • LazarusDark

    Just give me unlockable bootloaders. That's all I want. I'd have a Droid4 instead of a Gnex if it weren't for the problem with moto lockdown.

  • Lou

    What a great post!  Excellent commentary and research.  I don't know if I agree with all of your interpretations and conclusions, but that's not the point.  Good stuff!

  • http://profiles.google.com/christopher.mx4 Christopher Young

    Nice article. 

  • http://www.mobiletechview.com J_Dav1

    so Google now has hardware on the smartphone side and the set top box (GoogleTV) side to control. There is no reason Motorola Android devices should have hardware/software compatibility issues. They don't get priority access to the Android team, but what if the Android team gets priority access to Moto's engineers. Some ridiculously stable phones should follow.

  • http://www.mobiletechview.com J_Dav1

    so Google now has hardware on the smartphone side and the set top box (GoogleTV) side to control. There is no reason Motorola Android devices should have hardware/software compatibility issues. They don't get priority access to the Android team, but what if the Android team gets priority access to Moto's engineers. Some ridiculously stable phones should follow.

  • Gary Patrowicz

    moto needs to change fast or die

  • Droidfan

    The Nexus program announced for later this year makes it clear Google is going to release every thing to every one in a way that makes them all compete with each other...at a new level.   In doing so...it will inoculate Google from preferential treatment claims while advancing Android in a more cohesive way.  

    This isn't about doing things that will result in fewer Android handset sales....its about more...lots more handset sales.  And its about prodding a Samsung...when it starts making noises about using some other OS.

    You only have to look at the current crop of Android premier handsets from Samsung, HTC and Motorola to see what I am talking about.  These three companies are producing the best smart phones on the planet.  And the Android OEMs are producing over 50% of all smart phones sold worldwide.    

    The next year is going to be really interesting to watch.

  • Johnathan Higginson

    Wait, "95 facilities in 97 countries", do a couple of them span borders?

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      Hm. Math is hard.

    • John

      The "and many smaller ones" phrase means there are more than 95 facilities, just 95 "big" ones.

  • Steve Mancia

    I keep saying it and I'll say it again. Just make incredible phones. Make them better than what anyone has. contracts end people want the best. I would have gotten the razr maxx if it wasn't for the screen quality. that's all it was. Take HTC's example. they hit a home run with the One X. Listen to what people want and I mean really listen. Software is just as important as hardware. have both departments practically live together.

  • JonJJon

    I don't really hear much about Motorola in the UK, I think like Sony, Google needs to up Motos worldwide appeal by pushing better advertising of better products (something Google should be great at) If they can make just say 2-3 top quality mid to high end handsets and target them well they will get back into a good place, just like Sony, they need to catch up with the pace of everyone else and not announce then deliver 3-6 months later when everyone else has already shoved out better higher spec stuff.

    I'm going to look on at Google/Motorola with interest to see if design style, quality and features change :) I wouldn't mind owning a Motorola again (my last Moto was the original Razr) but not if "blur" still exists.

  • Freak4Dell

    I just want to see 3 things. On the phone side, unlocked bootloaders and the death of Blur. Motorola's hardware is already of excellent quality, so they just need their software to get there, too. Now that Google has some say in it, I expect amazing devices from Motorola.

    On the set top box side, GoogleTV. That is all.

  • http://twitter.com/SyntaxTerror Ian Triggs

    Don't expect much to happen on the set top box front.  The cable companies call the shots there, not the manufacturer.  The cable companies don't want Android/GoogleTV in the cable space.

  • Jonathan Gerrish

    Great article. I'd love to see the death of MotoBlur + bloatware, Moto to release some awesome hardware, with unlocked bootloaders, stock android pure Google experience and timely OS updates. And get Google TV running on their set top boxes.

  • http://brgulker.wordpress.com/ brgulker

    Excellent read. Thanks.

  • http://twitter.com/PCSievers P.C. Sievers

    Make good phones
    Sell worldwide
    Consumers win

    Nice article btw, tied the situation together nicely

  • Zerounodos

    DAMN. Motorola just got interesting again.

  • http://fnords.org/ Markoff Chaney

    Why put "definitely" in the title of an article full of speculation?

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/7GU4N7CVDBJXMZOBFO3DMIQZH4 J

    IMHO, for Google/Moto to "trim the fat" & make it a profitable company, their first move would be to get rid of Blur completely.  Incorporate any power saving & security tweaks into Android proper and then ax the rest.   The skins were, from my understanding, primarily designed to differentiate the various manufacturers handsets from each other - pick up an HTC phone & it'll look different from a Moto phone.  I would argue that with ICS, Android has received a much needed make over & is aesthetically pleasing in her own right.  If Moto were to drop blur & just go with stock Android, since everyone else still uses their skins, Moto phones would still be unique.  AND as an added bonus, the only changes they'll need to make from the AOSP would be to make sure the various hardware drivers all work.  That'll translate into less tweaking & testing, and result in pushing updates out faster.  Within a month & a half after an update being released from Google, Moto could have it being sent out to all of their phones, a lot better than the 6months I had to wait to transition from Froyo to GB...

    Second, they need to keep their phones open.  Easily rootable & unlockable bootloader.  I know a lot will argue that those who care about these are a small percentage of Android users, but just because we're a small number, doesn't mean our influence isn't stronger.  As the resident geek in my social circle, I've had about a half dozen other people ask me "What phone should I get" in the last few months.  And thanks to my encouragement they're all happily using Androids.  They may not have a desire to flash ROMs onto their phones, but...  I'd love to tell the next person who asks "Go with a moto phone, they've got good hardware, get updates almost as fast as Google releases them & they're very dev friendly, so if you do decide to get more geeky with the phone, it'll be a lot easier & there will be a ton of other users in the community ready to help".  If we all push that line, I'm sure Moto's percent would start to climb.

    • Norriswashington

       I don't think that eliminating Blur completely is the answer.  However, an option to have the phone Blur enhanced or straight ICS provides a choice so that the three people who love Blur can still get it.  

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/7GU4N7CVDBJXMZOBFO3DMIQZH4 J

        That'd work as well...  Moto releases stock updates to all phones with a new marketing campaign "You'll get EVERY update to your phone within 2 months of Google releasing it, regardless of how minor".  Then my Droid X could be on 2.3.7 instead of the 2.3.4 its on now, even though the .6 and .7 updates didn't really pertain to it (or better yet, it could be on 4.0.4)

        Then, after they've had time to update & test it, Moto could release the updated Blur (separate from the OS updates) into the Market, having Google restrict access to it to just Moto phones.  Then if you really like Blur, you could download it to your own phone. It'd be like the Windows 98 Plus add-on feature Microsoft released way back when. You got stock Win98, and if you wanted extras (new themes, games, etc) you got the Plus package later & installed it later...

    • http://profiles.google.com/marcusleejh Marcus Lee

      Hmm power saving? You mean Smart Actions? Actually that's an excellent idea...

      Damn! imagine AOSP incorporating it - it'd be like free Tasker for everybody!

  • David Tourtillott

    Really great article.
    I am definitely eager to see what comes out of this. Kinda happy to hear about the changes Google has already implemented.
    Thanks for sharing! :-) 

  • Sergii Pylypenko

    I believe Google can produce phones and avoid competing/jeopardizing with other Android manufacturers, by using a clever tactics of a separate market niche.

    Take Galaxy Note for example, or that crazy folding Sony tablet with 2 screens - they are not competing with HTC or anyone else with these products, just because HTC does not produce anything similar.

    Similarly, Google will probably use Motorola as a lab for all their experiments, producing:

    a phone with flip-over-roll-under-slide-your-pants-off full QWERTY keyboard (or maybe using a laser to draw it on any surface),

    a phone with a battery powerful enough to drive a golf cart, for all your outdoor needs,

    a holographic tablet with 12 cameras and a screen that will show you 12 different pictures under different angles, and aside from the holo photos and videos all 3D games will offer you a holographic view, that may totally be achieved by crafting special GLES drivers, without modifying the games themselves (and the device will cost like Lamborghini),

    a car that is driven by your phone over USB or Bluetooth, just put the marker on the Google Maps, and let you hands go off the steering wheel. Oh, and it will also pay your fines, just put your phone next to the phone of a police officer (and you don't need to show your license, because this will open your Google+ page on the officer's phone),

    Google Glasses, which work over Bluetooth,

    a charger that will use solar energy, your body motion or even WiFi radio energy,

    a phone holder put on your arm that will allow you to type with all 5 fingers without using your second arm (that will probably need another touch surface on your phone back, probably a part of a holder, and it connects using Bluetooth),

    a Bluetooth guitar to play Guitar Hero 3 for Android, obviously,

    a Bluetooth dance mat for other numerous games,

    And with all of that Google may leave it's Nexus phone to be produced by Samsung.

    It just needs to explain to other manufacturers, that their real competitors are Apple and Microsoft, and that the market is big enough for everyone to get their own play field.

  • http://profiles.google.com/sysadmn Paul Joslin

    Everyone is focused on smarthphones; fair enough, it's a huge and growing market.

    However, imagine how disruptive Google could be with a little attention to other areas.  Broadband modems, set-top boxes, GoogTV and Play?  Combine them into one box, buy or lease spectrum and WiMax patents, and bypass the cable companies.  If this makes the wireless carriers antsy (and it should), lease spectrum from them, and cut them into the revenue stream.  Agree to let them own the mobile revenues, and part of the fixed (home) revenues.  For example, homes could upgrade the wireless set-top box to fiber.  The wireless carrier gets the monthly fee and gets a small commission on purchases from Play. Google gets a Net Neutral (unfettered) path to the set-top box, and lots and lots of ad views.

    The cable companies become little more than content aggregators, and you pay prices closer to Hulu Plus than Time-Warner Cable for all your favorite channels.

    • Asphyx

      Well Paul I think some people are missing the much bigger picture this purchase can create but only because it is a Phone Specific venue.

      Google has been desperatly trying to get into the smart TV business.
      GoogleTV has sputtered due to hesitance from the TV Network/Content Creators to get onboard.

      People know Moto for their phones and Radio but forget that Box that brings in all thier cable channels is also a Motorola product made under the name of General Instruments and Scientific Atlanta!

      Google is going to make a ton more money from that business than they will from the phone business.
      They could concievably get googleTV into every home with cable, Making Android surpass both Windows and Linux as the most popular Operating system.

      Which is why they claim to the fact they don't intend to give Moto any extra perks in the phone division, Guys like Samsung and HTC are not thier competition so no reason to disadvantage them. The enemy is Apple with it's iTunes AppleTV and iOS.

      If they can take over the set top box market they will beat Apple for the same reasons Windows did on desktops. Application and software support.

      So I agree some are missing the forrest for the phone tree here.
      They get a lot of Patents which helps them in the Phone patent wars, But there is a ton more money to be made on the set top box side than could ever be imagined licensing Android to phone manufacturers.
       

  • Gabba

    These are the posts that have me shaking my head - NONE OF THIS IS NEWS.  If anyone opened a newspaper at the time of the sale, all this would have been laid out in full.  It never ceases to amaze me how stupid these writers are - they treat things as a revelation that were written in print years ago

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      Thanks for clarifying that none of this is "news" - clearly, a 2000-word article, one with a heading entitled "A Brief History of Motorola and Android," is going to be chocked full of breaking and exclusive news. And let's just ignore the fact that half of the article is also discussed in the past-tense.

      It never ceases to amaze me how little people actually understand about the concept of "editorial journalism."

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      You're an idiot.

  • http://twitter.com/seanism seanism

    I hope this means they will use Motorola for Google experience devices going forward.

  • jeff419

    What about the set top boxes?? Seems like you're ignoring the massive potential there to get GoogleTV much larger adoption in that market by leveraging the existing relationships Motorola has in that space.

    Bring the web to the TV screen is the future, especially considering YouTube's investment in premium content producers.

    • guest

      They've been doing that since mid 90'a with WebTV

  • Aaron Tant

    I think my only tweak to the article, granted, I understand what your end goal is, is that Motorola was not the first android.  Rather, the first android was made by HTC, sold by T-Mobile.  Verizon did a much better job advertising their Motorola Droid line-up, and people assumed that Verizon and Motorola were first, but this is, in fact, not true.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Motorola made the first DROID, not Android - David uses the right brand.

  • Minhtyfresh1

    What I hope this means is that upcoming Nexus phones will be at the forefront hardware wise. While I love my Gnex it did come with hardware towards the end of its generation. If it not only brought the latest and greatest android software but also the latest and greatest hardware to boot... There's some pretty serious market right there.

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