29
Jan
lenovorola

There comes a time in every major tech corporation's life when it has to let its previously-acquired but only tangentially-related asset go as part of a complex transaction with a multinational electronics firm. For Google, that time came today, when it announced that it would sell Motorola Mobility to Lenovo for $2.91 billion.

I, too, feel your pain. The idea of a Google-run phone manufacturer was, to me, a kind of techno-nirvana. I am a shameless Google fanboy when it comes to some things, and hoped that one day a Google-backed Motorola device could provide me the best of both worlds - fast updates and more attention to the features Google doesn't quite get right in Nexus phones. The Moto X was almost there. And now, we've all had the proverbial rug pulled out from under us, and uncertainty lies ahead. It doesn't feel good. It feels a little like betrayal - especially when Motorola has been playing the "a Google Company" branding card absolutely shamelessly since the company had its big re-launch last year.

wm_DSC01336

The question on many of our minds, no doubt, is "what now?" What happens to my ultra-fast software updates? Will I get them at all? Will Motorola keep good on its promise of a clean, untainted Android experience? Handset customization - what's going to happen there? Is Motorola even going to keep its Texas assembly facility open?

And the cold, hard truth is, we don't know. CEO Dennis Woodside provided very little insight on the announcement in his post at the official Motorola blog. He also didn't mention downsizing, headquarters location, the company's continuing strategy, or whether Motorola would even continue to exist as a separate firm in the Lenovo family (we know the brand will stick around, but that's it). He probably doesn't even know at this point. And uncertainty isn't good, especially when that uncertainty is centered around a company that has consistently lost money every quarter since being acquired by its current owner.

Last quarter, Google reported an operating loss of $248 million on Motorola. That's a far cry even from HTC, now widely considered in trouble, which reported an operating loss a fifth of that a few weeks ago.

If you're buying a company losing money, generally you don't keep them on that money-losing path. Motorola has already cut over 6000 employees since it was acquired by Google, ceased many of its international operations, revamped its brand, unveiled an industry-leading phone customization platform, and pushed hard to give customers a great software and support experience. Tomorrow, we'll hopefully see if those bets have paid off, when Google announces its Q42013 earnings. If Motorola's back in the black, perhaps things aren't so dire after all, and Lenovo will just continue on with this winning formula. If they're deeper in the red than ever before (or even close to it), then it's time to start getting wary of the future if you're Motorola, because I doubt Lenovo's willing to stomach a billion-dollar-a-year hole in its checkbook. A hole it just paid about $3 billion for to start with.

lenovorola

However, as easy as it is to be pessimistic about this whole situation, I also can't think Lenovo would buy Motorola unless it saw a real future in the brand. Lenovo's smartphones are widely-regarded as, well, crappy. There have been rumors swirling about an HTC acquisition by Lenovo for a while now, but maybe Google's offer on Motorola was just too good to pass up. Lenovo's made a major money-maker of IBM's previously-ailing ThinkPad brand, and is often considered to be on the leading edge of form-factor innovation in the tablet / laptop space. While popular in China (#2 overall in 2012), though, Lenovo's smartphone arm has failed to get much attention abroad. Lenovo has to know smartphones are an important form factor for growth of the company, and so I'd be willing to bet they're going to take some risks to try and make Motorola an international success. Lenovo isn't the sort of company that buys a brand to destroy it - they've shown that much with the ThinkPad.

But I don't think that's why people are upset. The prospect of Lenovo "ruining" Motorola is secondary, and it's still pretty far off. I also think that is very, very far from a foregone conclusion. I'd even go so far as to bet against the naysayers. No, the real angst here is at Google, for selling off a brand that Android loyalists had come to love and respect since it was acquired back in 2011.

Motorola had become a company that embodied the Google "spirit" - open, innovative, risk-taking. You know, the sort of corporation you'd want to have a beer with. If corporations were people. And had mouths. And drank beer. Anyway... Motorola was cool, man. And then, Google went and sold out the new OEM of choice for a growing number of Android enthusiasts. Treachery most foul! The consensus seems to be that without Google, Motorola cannot still embody those values which many of us came to respect them for above other manufacturers.

And as I said, we can't know what's going to happen there. But why did Google toss off Motorola at all? The answer, I think, is competition. Google bought Motorola while the company was in an obvious tailspin. CEO Sanjay Jha - the man behind disastrous products like the DROID BIONIC and the original ATRIX - had led the company into a seemingly inescapable pit of bloat. Motorola's reliance on TI chipsets had put it at a disadvantage in terms of raw performance, and it kowtowed to carriers' whims and exclusivity demands unflinchingly. To be blunt, Motorola was going nowhere fast.

Larry Page and Andy Rubin allegedly led the charge in the acquisition, though Rubin supposedly wanted no part of the actual handset business. Page decided to go for the whole package, and in 5 short days, a deal was hashed out, and Motorola officially was on its way to being a Google property.

Google whipped it into shape, even as rumors that the acquisition was largely about patents swirled. Thousands of jobs were cut, Motorola pulled out of most non-US markets, and doubtless many product launches were shelved. And now, Motorola is at a point where it at least has the prospect, the hope of growth. This is not the same company Google picked up on a whim over 2 years ago - it is revitalized.

And now that it's at least pointed in a direction that gives the company some hope, Google decided it was time to say goodbye. It probably never sat quite right with Google's other Android OEM partners, either, knowing that the company supplying them their open source OS and various services was now directly competing with them. It didn't quite fit with the spirit of Android, of open competition. That's not to say I wouldn't have minded seeing the cooperation continue.

At least the crazier parts of Motorola will be sticking around with Google for the time being, it seems.

There will be challenges for Motorola if this deal goes through. Big ones. Motorola has enjoyed the tech and mainstream media limelight for the last year almost solely because of its association with Google. There is a narrative at work in the larger tech media, and that narrative essentially goes: "Google / Samsung / Apple = important." Motorola had the luck to fall directly under the Google umbrella during its big re-launch. Now, Motorola will fall under the "everything else" pile. It will have to claw its way back to the headlines, because there really is nothing "hip" about being a Lenovo company. It's a sad but very real truth - Motorola will not get nearly the attention it did as a Google property, and the one reason for that will be that it is no longer a Google property. With the big G gone, the fact is Motorola's just not going to get as much love from the media.

So, here's to hoping they don't screw it up. At this point, that's all we can really do anyways.

David Ruddock
David's phone is an HTC One. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, imparting a legal perspective on tech news, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.

  • Bariman43

    What's going to happen to Project Ara? :(

    EDIT: Never mind, I just saw the article that was posted. Disregard.

  • invinciblegod

    "Google whipped it into shape... Motorola is at a point where it at least has the prospect, the hope of growth"

    Why would you spend money to fix a company and then sell it? Seems like a waste of time, effort, and money.

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

      To keep competition in the Android ecosystem healthy. It can't be all Samsung, all the time. That's the kind of situation Google wants to avoid. I don't think it'd be quite fair for Google to be the one to pump billions into Moto, though. I doubt Samsung, Sony, or HTC would appreciate that. But someone had to fix Moto enough that it didn't go belly up, and I think the patents provided Google an opportunity / excuse to do it.

      • NemaCystX

        If thats the case, they should do the same for HTC

        do the same to them, relaunch the company, and make it a better one that cares about battery life and more than just what it looks like. They create gorgeous devices but battery life is always last focus to them. Not to mention, Sense.

    • mesmorino

      On the other hand, Google routinely wastes time, effort and money on a bunch of things, so... par for the course, really.

    • NemaCystX

      Probably reason to obtain the patents.... to be honest this is a dick move on Google's part...

  • Mn_1

    2.91 billion? So Motorola cost less than Nest (bought 3.2 billion by Google)... Sad...

    • Zlatty

      Keep in mind that Motorola is patent-less, and therefore worth a bit less

      • Sasquatch4ever

        Not true, that 2.91 billion includes 2000 patents and a license to use any of the other patents.

        • NemaCystX

          License = which means they still have to pay royalties

        • JensAstrup

          Google still kept a majority of the patents though

        • Matthew Merrick

          2000 pieces of IP. out of a hell of a lot more than that that google is keeping.

      • jman69

        Yup Google paid 12 billion for the patents and to keep those patents away from sue happy Apple. Mission accomplished. Now they sell off Motorola and get more patents from Lenovo.

    • NemaCystX

      Google bought Moto for $12B, (now its worth much less since it has no patents to go with it in a package deal)

      • Thronnos

        Google bought Moto for 12B but came away with about 15B after all said and done. Google MADE 3B

        • http://www.modminecraft.com/ Nick Coad

          Where are you getting that 15B figure from? I can't figure out how you think they came out of this 3B ahead.

          • Thronnos

            Just do some simple math and google a bit, don't just down rate my comment. Google came away with about 4b net. After calculating in the operating losses it tallies up to around 2b or so

            So if you just focus on the sale aspect and net worth, google made 3-4b

          • BetterWithRoot

            I agree, and they also made a profit because Moto made a loss, so they were able to claim that for themselves, boosting their bottom line.

            Here's a great article with more details for everybody out there.

            http://www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2012/12/22/did-motorola-mobility-only-cost-google-1-5-billion/

  • usamaisawake

    You described how I feel exactly right. Very disheartened and equally worried about the future of Motorola. Not happy with Google.

    • Mike Reid

      Calling Moto "A Google Company" implied things to me.

      Yeah, I feel a bit abandoned. I bought a MotoG from this "Google Company" and had hoped that Motorola was finally improving.

      Google has a history though of canning things that don't make money or don't fit their strategies...

      • Joanna Terry

        my&nbsproomate's&nbspstep-aunt&nbspΜ­­­­­­а­­­­­­K­­­­­­е­­­­­­ѕ&nbsp$­­­­72/հ­­­­­­ο­­­­­­ս­­­­­­r&nbspon&nbspthe&nbspі­­­­­­ո­­­­­­τ­­­­­­е­­­­­­r­­­­­­ո­­­­­­е­­­­­­τ.&nbspShe&nbsphas&nbspbeen&nbspout&nbspof&nbspW­­­­­­ο­­­­­­r­­­­­­K&nbspfor&nbspsix&nbspΜ­­­­­­ο­­­­­­ո­­­­­­τ­­­­­­հ­­­­­­ѕ&nbspbut&nbsplast&nbspΜ­­­­­­ο­­­­­­ո­­­­­­τ­­­­­­հ&nbspher&nbspρ­­­­­­а­­­­Уment&nbspwas&nbsp$­­­­12372&nbspjust&nbspW­­­­­­ο­­­­­­r­­­­­­King&nbspon&nbspthe&nbspі­­­­­­ո­­­­­­τ­­­­­­е­­­­­­r­­­­­­ո­­­­­­е­­­­­­τ&nbspfor&nbspa&nbspϜ­­­­­­е­­­­­­W&nbspհ­­­­­­ο­­­­­­ս­­­­­­rs.&nbspfind&nbspmore&nbspinfo,...&nbspWW&#x57&#x2EStartwithgooglework2014originalcyeu4pn&#46&#113r&#x2E&#110&#x65&#x74&#47&#109&#87&#x71&#x5A/

        ∎∎∎∎ ∎ာ∎∎ ∎∎∎∎ ∎∎∎ ∎၎∎∎ ∎∎∎∎ ∎∎∎HTC X (Moto X with high-end specs and super premium, durable build quality)

    • joser116

      Google could have done great things with that company.

    • hipster

      I was on the opinion that Google is taking h/w seriously, may merge Moto & Nexus brand and enter device market; give competition to Samsung & Apple. But they don't have the guts...

      You don't need to guess what they will do with Nest. They just don't know hardware or retail. Nest will be a Samsung company shortly.

      It also hurts to see Google & Samsung in bed, exchanging patents, guiding future UI of Android. Seriously, what happened to OHA? It's on paper only. Is this what you call "Open"?

      • Matthew Merrick

        The OHA was always a joke. no one in it except google gave a damn about it, or really ever obeyed it, except on flagships which were going to have gotten updates anyways. the state of updates getting better has nothing to do with the OHA, TBH, and everything to do with consumer demands. But you still see companies like acer and samsung trying to get out of it.

    • Cherokee4life

      my own theory was that Google wanted to buy a dying hardware company to whip it into shape and make a little profit on it and then when it set it loose into the world it would create better competition for Samsung. Because Google must love Samsung for all the phones its selling with Android but I personally don't think Google would want the other OEMs to stop producing Android phones because people are only buying Samsung phones.

      My conspiracy theory anyways.

      • Twelk

        I think Google primarily wanted the Moto patents for the "android umbrella".

        But perhaps they have shown other manufacturers how they envisage android handsets should be developed. With a reduced range of devices but with greater software support.

        I thought SE were going to do that when it became Sony mobile. It didn't really happen that way though.

        Yes Google must love Samsung for selling lots of phones, but on the other hand they make so many different types of android phone some of which are rubbish. This would put consumers off android because the budget phones are so slow and this adds to the fragmentation of android.

      • Thanks

        As my thiNk, samsung smartphone is totally bullshit. At LG is better than samsung. I love htc and motorola. But at last they sells to lenovo is a stupid way. It make motorola to the died way. Lenovo company is a bullshit company. It will end the motorola brand. It wouldnt help motorola to be a clean, easier, voice control, perfomance faster and gpu faster and good capture camera and a good high density pixel in the way. Lenovo will mke it doubt.

  • http://sites.google.com/site/phoenix713/ Eddie

    I don't think I've felt this bad from a Google announcement since Reader shutting down. Here's to hoping this ends well...

    • RenatoFontesTapia

      I use feedly now... It wasn't that bad...
      lets hope things go well this time too u_u

  • NathanDrago

    After all the efforts... after having started to build a strong corporate identity, a crazily innovative supply chain, top notch software interface... they let it go.
    There's just one thing running through my head over and over: they shouldn't have. They simply shouldn't have.

    • Nathan

      This was what they had planned all along.

      • NathanDrago

        Nobody plans to waste time and effort in a product line just to sell it after one year and a half. This outcome has been *foreseen*, but not *planned*. There's quite a difference.

    • Roger Siegenthaler

      I somehow doubt google had much of a hand in Motorola's reinvention, they probably just said dump all the excess, be open and make nice phones, we'll foot the bill and get you the media coverage.

  • ithehappy

    Yeah sad news of course, lets be a dog and sell yourself to suckers like Google and Apple, whose only aim is to drag you in their ecosystem.
    Stupid.

    • NemaCystX

      and take your patents and everything you have going for you in innovation then sell you off to the highest bidder

      I am indeed saddened by this transaction...

  • andykillen

    I was glad when Motorola was aquired by google as their adherance to customers was less than desireable. And again this sale in my eyes is a good thing.

    Quite clearly motorola will be aiming it's self at the corp enterprize crowd, where lenovo has gone with the thinkpad it aquired from IBM.

    smiles all round as far as I can see... The corp crowd will have a competitor to blackberry that has a decent shout... and its android based.

    Honestly if you has asked me before google took motorola, I would have said that they were the company on the edge of failure, the worst share investment (yes I was wrong as you would have made a packet on the google purchase). They were terrible.

  • Nathaniel Webb

    Motorolenoverola.

    • Mozaik

      lenovotrola

  • invinciblegod

    People say that, but I think that is more of a justification in retrospect though. That is an explanation thought up after Motorola was sold to Lenovo. But before that, people thought it was to make a vertical company like Apple for the ultimate Nexus device. Before that, it was patents to fight Apple and before that it was to buy out Motorola before they tried to use their patents to sue all android makers (which I remember being a threat that Motorola made). Really, I chalk it all up to it being a hasty decision on Google's part to buy Motorola due to a number of factors, not some well though out Google master plan to equalize the marketplace.

    • anezarati

      I think the main reason google bought moto was for the patents. I read that Rubin did not want to enter the smartphone market directly. But Larry pushed for it.

      I dont think google ever wanted to become vertical like apple.

    • NemaCystX

      lol, when it comes to buying companies, there ARE plans, they consider what they will do with it after the transaction and after they got their "fill" or it didn't meet expectations.

      Unless you work for a corporation and are a CFO or something I disagree with your statement, while I'm not either but I'm just saying, there are alot of things going on behind the scenes that we have no idea about and one of those could be "master plans"

  • Ixil

    I personally am glad that Google sold them. I was burned by Motorola years ago and I doubt anything could make me purchase a Motorola device again. That being said, if Lenovo retires the Motorola name, they might get past some of the stigma that is Motorola.

    • Gabernasher

      You were burned by the company that was bought and had it's whole philosophy shifted so you're glad they got rid of them? I had the OG Droid, that phone was amazing.

      • Ixil

        Absolutely. I can't be the only person to hold a grudge. I'm glad Google got rid of them, because I don't want Google to take a loss because they made a mistake in buying a company no one has interest in dealing with.

    • http://petercast.net Peterson Silva

      There are two "yeahs" I can write in reply that I can think of now...
      - Yeah, like Lenovo has no stigma on its name.
      - Yeah, like Motorola didn't earn a new fame for itself.

      • NemaCystX

        When I hear the word "Lenovo" I think of a Chinese, cheapo computer company.

        When I hear Motorola, I think of a quality product that has the great experience of telecommunications and commercial electronics.

        Lenovo, not so much, I think of them as I did before IBM got bought, junk!

        • http://petercast.net Peterson Silva

          Exactly!

        • Sean Royce

          What are you smoking? Lenovo make top quality computers, they're not a cheap company.

          • i_mleonard

            ThinkPad's under Lenovo have degraded into flimsy cheap bricks.

          • Roger

            How many keystrokes do you have to press before you get the letter you wanted, because the tablet I had took about 4-5 screen touches before it would respond and launch the given app. Cheap parts.

      • Cody Shiranai

        Yeah, I admit, there has been some horrible changes and leadership over the years pre-Google, but Motorola as a name USED to stand for a lot. No one can tell me you didn't want a RAZR back in the day, because that was the iPhone of the time if you want to talk popularity.

        • Roger

          RAZR? Try a Startac. And they had great products in the 70s.

      • Grumphus

        Lenovo, no stigma on its name? Is that why Lenovo is the most successful Windows OEM right now?

        • http://petercast.net Peterson Silva

          Don't play dumb. I'm not talking about laptops, I'm talking about phones and the perception of them in Western markets.

        • i_mleonard

          They're successful not because of quality, but because they're cheap. The ThinkPad's are terrible now.

    • Sasquatch4ever

      I completely disagree. The Motorola brand is extremely long-standing, much longer than Lenovo. Just because they've had a view bad years does not mean that the brand name is ruined.

    • i_mleonard

      Lenovo, getting rid of a stigma? After what they've done to the thinkpad? that's laugable

  • Nathan

    Okay, Google. Now buy HTC and make us really happy.

    HTC X (Moto X with high-end specs and super premium, durable build quality)

    Yes, please.

    • Jillxz

      No please no. Don't buy HTC . It would keep it a couple of years then sell it. That's the Google way.

      • NemaCystX

        just like they are doing with their services anymore, they launch a new service, keep it for a few years then retire it... its becoming annoying and repetitive... unless they add some impressive changes to Android, i might be jumping ship, i'm tired of the changes all the time that result in problems or loss of features *cough* google maps *cough*

        • Cody Shiranai

          Maybe when people actually support it the way they claim to and not just say it is supported but really just expecting everyone else to come along and save it, then Google will keep it. Reader wasn't NEARLY as popular as people act, it just seems that way because people have a ghetto mentality of thinking just because their exclusive circles like something, it means EVERYONE does. Movie fans are the same way, very ignorant to how the rest of the world acts or reacts to something.

          • http://www.modminecraft.com/ Nick Coad

            Completely agree - Google has access to the profit & loss stats on this stuff, not us. I'm sure if Reader was somehow valuable to them they wouldn't have gotten rid of it, and thinking otherwise is severely stupid.

        • http://www.modminecraft.com/ Nick Coad

          Yeah Google does this with all of their services. Like Google+, YouTube, Gmail, Drive, Calendar, Blogger, Books, Music... Oh wait a second, all of those are still around and being worked on as hard as ever. You're massively exaggerating, and it's just silly "sky is falling" crap. Why should they continue to hold onto products and services that aren't working out? That's exactly why RIM is in the shit.

    • dandroid13

      Let HTC die, nobody cares about them.

      • Sean Royce

        I'm waiting for them to go downhill. If they don't shape up, it'll happen.

        • Chris Talty

          They are already down the hill and off the cliff.

    • Vinay N S

      I'd rather prefer they buy Nokia somehow...
      Its almost impossible, yes.. But if they manage to pull it off, they'll kill two birds with one stone... kill WP and bring back Nokia's trusted brand backed by Google...

      • Roger

        That Nokia ship has sailed, sadly.

  • http://androidandme.com/ Taylor Wimberly

    Lenovo was #4 in global smartphone sales in Q4. Not far behind #3 Huawei.

    • jesuguru

      Pretty sure that's mostly due to the size of the Chinese population/market. Being #1 and #2 there means #3 and #4 "globally".

  • NinoBr0wn

    I couldn't care less really, or I should say it doesn't make me sad in any way. Only if these rumors about the Nexus line going away turn out to be true, would I feel bad about this. Google got their patents, and that's what they wanted. so I'm not confused either.

  • Daeshaun Griffiths

    I just don't want to see the sexy M on the back on the moto x fade. Damn that dimple!!!

    • Jillxz

      Google don't need a reason to do what ever it wants. We need a reason . Not Google. Sorry for those who love the Nexus brand , but it will go.

      • Daeshaun Griffiths

        I'm not too sure how to respond to that.

      • deano

        then what will be the reference point for the android ui? touchwiz?

  • Jillxz

    The next one to go is the Nexus brand. Don't believe me ? Just wait and see.

    • Bariman43

      I can't possibly see a reason why Google would spontaneously drop a much-coveted, powerful, cheap, and ultimately successful line of smartphones. It's safe to say I don't believe you.

      • anezarati

        samsung told them to

      • Rovex

        Apart from a few fanboys, mostly the type of write for sites like this, which gives the Nexus far more coverage that it really deserves, no one cares about the Nexus. Total Nexus phone sales from the One to the 5 are roughly equal to the first 2 weeks of Galaxy S4 sales.

        The industry and Google wont miss it in the least.

        • Roger

          At least not until people grow tired of begging for updates like they were Oliver Twist.

          • Rovex

            People demanding OS updates are idiots. There is usually very little or nothing to be gained from a base OS update when you have an OEM phone.
            Periodic updates to the OEM software is far far more important than base OS updates, especially now. KK its hardly any different at all to JB and all the OEM updates ive seen so far have changed absolutely nothing.
            Even on the Nexus its not always good, the N10 is worse on KK than JB!

    • andy_o

      Or wait, don't see, and no one will remember that you were wrong. But if you're right, oh, I'm sure you'll make sure everyone knows.

      • http://petercast.net Peterson Silva

        Yeah, he said the same thing on the other article. "See? Seeeee? I was right, but no one listened to me! d'awwn". What a brat.

  • fadl

    "While popular in China (#2 overall in 2012)"

    Lenovo was #1 overall in 2013. They overtook HP last year.

    Honestly, I do not care as long as Lenovo keeps the clean Android OS. I even hope Lenovo buys HTC, Huawei, and Xiaomi and start some real competition with samsung.

    Sony and LG can't change the marketshare any more

    • Bariman43

      Do you realize how bad of an idea merging Lenovo, HTC, Huawei, and Xiaomi is? Yeah, let's take consumer choices out of the market and leave us to only pick between Samsung, LG, and Super-Lenovo. Nothing could possibly go wrong.

      • Roger

        Having owned several brands, Samsung is about the only one I'd consider anymore on Android. But with their bloatware and overlay, that's not saying much.

    • ins0mn1a

      that statement was about lenovo's smartphone arm.

  • Jillxz

    Great article.

  • GraveUypo

    google just wanted the patents. oh well. i'm used to get disappointed by google. i don't even care anymore

    • taskman

      That they wanted the patent for obvious reasons was never a surprise to anybody. This is however a bit more of a surprise but they got what they wanted and they probably losing money on Motorola as it is.

  • Matevz

    HTC-Motorola would be much better idea in my opinion.. HTC with build quality..

    • NemaCystX

      HTC has the build quality, so does Motorola now, so the only thing HTC needs is stock and non-sense options (pun intended)

    • Sean Royce

      Yeah because metal=best build quality. Get off your high horse, if you had half a brain you'd realise plastic is always going to be better. Do you call your aluminium soft drink cans premium?

  • oesjmr

    NNNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!

  • Am79

    DAMNIT! I was waiting for a 1080p version of the moto X. Craaaaaap!

    • Arthur Dent

      They are not going to just cancel all the phones in development right now. I am sure IF there is a 1080p Moto X2 in development now that it will come to market this year. Google had a full 18 months worth of products that were in development when they bought Moto and put them out. No way Lenovo will restart everything from scratch. Especially when these lines of products were getting great reviews.

      Don't panic.

      • Matthew Merrick

        The hardware planned will still come out. But the software will not stay clean and beautiful, the bootloader will not stay unlocked, and updates will not come quickly, if at all. It is simply not the lenovo way.

        • Roger

          Testify. I owned a tablet of theirs, never again.

  • tehone

    I guess this might sound like I'm trolling but I must admit I'm a bit surprised reading the general disappointed/sad tone from the majority of comments (and the editorial).

    I'm a Google fan who's owned nothing but Nexus phones but Motorola never really did anything for me*.

    Maybe you can help me better understand. Are most of you disappointed folks mostly former Motorola phone owners/fans and/or wanted Motorola to do well (as opposed to future being unknown under Lenovo)?

    I personally think Google is better off without Motorola and can't say I'm unhappy at all with the sale.

    Also, not sure if linked yet, but Google didn't really lose all that much:

    http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2014/01/29/did-google-really-lose-on-its-original-motorola-deal/

    *= I _did_ love the reviews I've read of the Moto G and might still buy one to play with in the near future. Or buy a couple for my parents. They are great for the price, no doubt.

    • i_mleonard

      We are mostly fans of Motorola. Honestly the Moto Gwas the best phone I've ever owned. I was looking forward to see how they continued to improve the product.

      Now the product is owned by a shoddy company that's turned the ThinkPad into flimsy, clumsy hardware.

  • thisguy

    I don't see what's so sad. Maybe its because I'm not a fan of Motorola. I guess that Motorola nexus dream everybody ppl wishing for is out the window. Onward with a sony nexus!!

  • jman69

    LOL People need to take a chillpill. You really think Google is that stupid? Google the same company that bought Android for 50 million in 2005 and is currently bringing in billions per year? Google bought Motorolla mainly for the 17000+ patents away from Apple and then the mobile phone division was just an add on. Now Google sells Motorolla to Lenovo after they stripped the patents and they get 2000+ patents from Lenovo in return. This is what you call win/win.

    • http://www.modminecraft.com/ Nick Coad

      I more or less agree with your overall point, but Google didn't get any patents from Lenovo, it's the other way around. Lenovo was given 2000 Motorola patents as part of the deal.

    • Roger

      I have about as much intention of buying a Moto now as I do buying a ZTE, which is zero. All this deal did was ensure that there is one less Android OEM anyone will fool with, along with one less avenue of getting a timely update. win/win for whom, exactly?

  • Bala

    lol, it will be one heck of a heart break for motorola and google fans :D

  • The Truth

    Motorola/Google shot themselves in the foot. I was a Bionic owner, and yes this was before Google owned Motorola, but even after the switch, it took ages to get our update finally, and it was more of the same delayed crap and BS excuses and other phones getting updates before "flagship" devices. I vowed I would never buy a Motorola again. I, like others, want good lifespan support for devices and consider this part of a phone purchase, and will go elsewhere if we don't get it.

    Also, Moto X was close, but could have been so much more, they should have made a Moto XL with a 5.5" size with a stylus and I would have probably bought that even with my anger towards Motorola, but instead I made the jump to Samsung.

    Samsung does seem nicer than Motorola overall and I was happy I switched, but unfortunately though Samsung did the same update crap with the Note 2, so I will probably take my dollars to another company after my contract is up. Now Sony needs to release an Xperia Play 2 that's bigger than 5 inches, and I would switch to that in a heartbeat.

    • AllPurposeRadio

      Also a former Bionic owner.... In all fairness, Verizon was as much to blame for the up8

  • Nex

    Well the hardware strategy wasn't paying off really good so I'm glad its dead... NO Removable Battery = NO DEAL!

  • Cody Shiranai

    My main disappointment in this is that Motorola is an AMERICAN manufacturer. Google is an AMERICAN company. So as it stood, they were the only WHOLLY domestic phone "entity' in the game. Microsoft now has Nokia (non-domestic) and Apple goes through various Asian companies. Google not only had its own manufacturer, but it was American. Something about that just affects your perception in a different way (if you're American I mean) and it makes you want to support them more.

    • Sir Perro

      While your perception is just normal, you must be aware than the US is just an small part of the world, as far as potential customers is concerned, but specially regarding the manufacturing capabilities. Sticking to an "all-american" approach is the first nail in the coffin unless you want to live only out of your US business. Don't ever believe Google or Apple give a shit about US employment, all they understand is profits, and what they do is basically throwing bones.

      The case of Apple is interesting because they REALLY need to reinforce their US business, so they are making tradeoffs to improve their US visibility. Because they ALREADY have lost many other important markets and can't afford loosing marketshare there.

      It's not that Apple is getting loyal to their country, it's simply they are basically demolished by android out of the US and need to look more american so you guys stop buying samsung stuff.

      • Cody Shiranai

        Yes, but I am speaking mainly about the cultural significance of Motorola as a company to the American people being important and noted in what react people would have toward this news as well as Google having bought them years ago in the first place. It would be like a company saving General Motors.

        The reasons you give are exactly why no one should expect international markets to care, but I am speaking of this as an American issue because that is how it will be perceived by the general public.

        Google essentially saved an American icon and then sold it off 3 years later to an Asian company after keeping the useful parts. Good for business, BAD for perception, especially in a time where people are turning on Google for getting too big and powerful and "all in your business" (Microsoft got this hate, Apple got this hate, too).

        Make no mistake, the general masses would not take this news well, especially not the way the mainstream media will spin this for headlines and ratings boost. They are always putting all kinds of Google hate nonsense out there. They won't care about the technical or business reasons for this. It will just be Google send an American icon out in the cold after "strip-mining it". Screams "Evil Corporation" once you leave out "inconvenient details. Need I bring up all the privacy-fearmonging anti-NSA crap that gets attached to Google now?

        What's the expression? All you need to bring someone down is to wrap a lie that people want to believe around a bunch of truths and let the snowball roll. Doesn't mean it's right or wrong, it's just the sort of thing that will be spun all wrong and Google will have to waste time and money fighting in the end over a very normal business decision that in all actuality saved the American icon in question (for now).

  • 808Bill

    Good piece David. You nailed it again.

  • Anthrox

    I think this is the problem with Motorola under Google is they will never be able to create a super phone or Nexus as they don't wanna piss of Samsung & LG so selling is the best for Android as a whole now Motorola can complete in the high end market without these company going why do we support Android when all you do is screw us.

    also Google didn't get screw buying Motorola they have sold

    Manufacturing in some country for about 100million

    Motorola Cable TV business for about 2.2 billion

    Motorola Mobile for 2.9 Billion

    these also talk of some weird tax credit of about 3 billion

    they keep patents and Motorola Tech Team.

    and at they have keep Motorola going under and away from Apple

  • Tony

    I still feel betrayed. I don't care if Google lost a billion dollars a year on Motorola and Samsung was crying about playing favorites and they only sold 1 phone a year and that was to me, I wasn't going to buy a Samsung with their extra 2 Gigs of crapware on every phone anyways! Sad day indeed, best find a few drinks and forget about it :(.

    • Roger

      I have a Mega currently and yeah it's app redundancy central for certain between them and Google's stuff. I don't know what Google is thinking. Samsung, more or less, is the go to brand in Android for alot of people, but they are certainly a loose cannon. Hell, the whole reason for their agreement was Samsung going way out in left field with some quasi-Windows tile interface overlay with Android. Between all the skins, overlays and differences Android is starting to take on a Linux-like atmosphere, and I mean that from Linux's downsides, not its upsides. I can see Samsung getting a wild hair and just forking off without much provocation, leaving Google with egg on their face.and scrambling for a competent manufacturer, or just saying screw it let Apple and Microsoft have it. Let's go build a robot.

  • NOT RahmEmanuel

    Here's my take.

    Google hopes the sale of Motorola will accomplish several, interlaced goals. There's (lots) more to be considered, but here's a quick summary.:

    [1] Solidify Android's dominant market position by strengthening the OEMs. (Lenovo gets valuable IP, plus the promise of working more closely with Team Android. All OEMs can now stop worrying about competition from Google.)

    [2] Convince/seduce the OEMs into following a more vanilla approach for Android devices, in part by offering a better working relationship. (c.f.: Samsung's statement to this effect, after announcing yesterday's IP swap with Google.)

    [3] Cozy up to current Windows OEMs -- many of whom are, of course, also potential WP licensees -- to help lay a sturdy foundation for the future of Chrome OS, while simultaneously submarining Microsoft's plans (and profits).

    In coming months, I think we'll learn that today's Lenovo deal was just one of many quiet, background moves by Google, largely intended to beat Microsoft like a rented mule.
    .

    • Roger Siegenthaler

      I can't wait to see Microsoft's retaliation when they announce new Nokia hardware and Windows 9 which will hopefully clean up the sh*t that win8 kind of is (it's chaotic, good ideas, badly executed, like vista). Maybe if MS decides to buy up Blackberry it could seriously embed itself in the enterprise market by having these old, powerful brands all working together.

      Edit: to clarify, I'm not a MS fanboy, but I can see true potential in what MS is doing with its new pricing models for Office 365 and the price of the nokia 520. It just needs some serious cleaning up if it wants to stay in competition.

      • h4rr4r

        You see potential in renting Office?
        Do you have stock in the company?

        • Roger Siegenthaler

          Well it's exactly what google allows companies to do, google just packs it all under the umbrella of "storage space" whereas MS says they're giving you office for a fee. And yes, there's still nothing that matches office's full feature set, of course I personally don't use anywhere near the full feature set. I just wish they'd get collaboration working a lot better.

      • Roger

        I won't lie, if Microsoft gets their ducks in a row and polished up, I'd have to give them major consideration provided they meet my needs. (Updates/sd card slot/OTG and similar support) Sure it will suck to vacate all those paid apps on Android, but I'mgrowing a lot less tolerant of sitting at the roulette wheel of Android updates hoping my expensive device's number comes up.

      • Stone Cold

        Rim won't be sold they just went private went back to focusing on the business side of smartphones.

        • Roger Siegenthaler

          a) not called RIM anymore, they renamed the whole company to blackberry iirc ;).

          b) I was talking about a possible future where blackberry still manages to go bankrupt...

    • Roger

      Problem there is all the Android OEMs, save for Samsung aren't exactly beaming in the financial department. Lenovo was considering offering HTC a buyout before this.

      • IcerC

        Let's see you've got Sony, zte, hwawei, lg, xiaomi, and oppo who all want to get in the us more.

      • NOT RahmEmanuel

        Problem there is all the Android OEMs, save for Samsung, aren't exactly beaming in the financial department.

        Not sure what you're implying, here.

        We all know that mobile is a rough business. Companies come and go, every so often. They test markets, enter sectors, leave sectors, form partnerships and absorb other firms...or are absorbed, themselves.

        Do we doubt that Google would prefer strong OEMs? It's good for Android (spreads the risk while also increasing the pool of talent) and for Google. No licensor wants one overwhelmingly dominant licensee.

        But each OEM brings their own problems, like antsy shareholders or local regulators. And there's the new reality of tech: Everybody gets sued. You need a shedload of IP for defense, or you're screwed.

        We know Google are there to help, but it's a lot like raising kids. At some point they are big boys & girls, responsible for themselves. Daddy Google can do just so much; they surely can't guarantee success.

        So, sure -- many Android OEMs are stretched a bit thin. Given signs of saturation in the US and W. Europe, this Lenovo deal is likely the first of many such mergers and acquisitions among OHA members.

        And that's OK. Free enterprise implies survival of the fittest. And eventual consolidation is the way of all markets, as we've seen many times before. The important thing is that Android OS will soldier on. :-)

        .

  • pierre

    motorola like a google company has a great value and respect..since today is one more behind very behind samsung apple htc..so sadly. and even worst the hope to get pure android and innovations quickly to us the consumers is fading away...the nexus and google edition are locked in few countries..the rest of us had in motorola our hopes...thanks google to let us down..

  • hyperbolic

    What about project Ara ?

  • Harry

    My brain thinks this is a good move, yet my heart is upset.
    I wish I could see into the future and witness the market 12 months from now...

    • Roger

      Market 12 months from now: The majority of us still waiting on KitKat.

      Tell you this much, somebody at Microsoft better not grow a brain in the meantime and start an aggressive launch of handsets in the Moto G pricing arena, They may just get more bites than Google would like to see. I know I've been watching their app market and it's expanding all the time. Alot of the major apps like Vine, Instagram, etc. are coming on board too.

  • RenatoFontesTapia

    I want to hug motorola and cry.. like If I was saying an ex-girlfriend I used to love.... u_u

    yeah I'm a fucking nerd xD

  • Rovex

    We all know how quickly Google get bored of seemingly good ideas that everyone loves. I half expect them to just decide to stop Android one day because no reason. They have corporate ADHD.

    • Roger

      ^THIS. This all day long!

  • Tassadar

    It's kinda funny to see patents handled as if they were just another form of currency - I mean, those are supposed to be technological innovations, and they just handle them by thousands. I wonder if they even choose the ones they give to Lenovo, or if they just grab the first two thousand and send them off.

  • fw

    Good news. Unlike Google, Lenovo realizes that there are other countries in the world.

  • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

    Honestly I'm not so sure about the future of Motorola under the wing of Lenovo.. Even if they combine forces - they'd still have a very small niche in the Android world, up to the point of abandoning the market

    • Roger

      Moto is a dead duck, HTC is in trouble already, not many are fans of LG. Sounds like outside of Samsung or cheap chinese phones like ZTE, Android may be in trouble. If they discontinue the Nexus line and any hope of proper updates to the OS, I guarantee you it is.

  • Deeco

    I think Google intentions was to obtain all Motorola Patents to begin with, at that was by buying out Motorola Mobility. Google are even killing off the Nexus brand, I think their strategy has changed.

    • Roger

      While Google's strategy may have changed this deal, and possible Nexus line discontinuing, insures that Android's strategy won't be changing: Spend 400 on a plastic phone and maybe we'll toss you an OS bone or squash a bug, but don't hold us to that!

  • j

    im positive this is good for google, just sad that another made in america product will probably be taken away along with american jobs.

  • Gerret Walczak

    I'm surprised nobody has mentioned the disappointment in seeing a nearly century-old American goliath like Motorola sold to a Chinese multinational.

    • Roger

      It's becoming far too commonplace to be surprised anymore

  • shonangreg

    When Lenovo bought the ThinkPad line from IBM, they did keep it as a separate division. Headquarters are still near me in Yokohama. The Yamato Headquarters, in Minato Mirai. From my experience with the ThinkPad Tablet, Lenovo did allow the ThinkPad culture to continue, but they also came in and made decisions.

    The ThinkPad Tablet was a horrible device. The USB and charging ports and the volume rocker broke way too easily. Some people even said theirs was not soldered to the motherboard. The GPS also never worked on the WiFi-only versions of the tablet. ThinkPad admins had no direct line of communication with customers, instead relying on a discussion forum ( http://forums.lenovo.com/t5/ThinkPad-slate-tablets/bd-p/Thinkpad_slate ), and they never acknowledged the manufacturing problems.

    The device never should have been released, and even then it should have been recalled and fixed. That is what the ThinkPad moniker meant. Lenovo broke it.

    I've heard they did better on the ThinkPad notebook PC side, so maybe Motorola with its existing product lines will be operated more that way.

    • i_mleonard

      Slightly better, but ThinkPad quality has degraded over the years. It's sad, really.

    • Roger

      Lenovo's tablets are on the same scale as Toshitba's: complete garbage. owned one of each.

  • saltyzip

    Google needs to be manufacturer agnostic, so Moto had to go. This way Google can work alongside all the Android OEMs without any favoritism issues, and it should mean the Nexus line of phones and tablets will continue unabated.

    • Roger

      Work alongside? You mean Google releases OS and the OEMs go, 'Oh great! We'll issue it to our devices.....eventually...perhaps...maybe....' Same ol shit

      • saltyzip

        I'm not surprised manufacturers only support software updates on phones which are under 2 years old. They believe it makes good business sense as it is likely to entice the customer into upgrading. However with security being a hot potato, not issuing even security patches to 2+ year old phones does not inspire confidence in Android to consumers, so this needs to be addressed one way or the other.

  • h4rr4r

    Shown that much with the thinkpad?
    Go find a T30 or T40 and compare it to anything they build today. Tell me which one had better build quality and will deal with the punishment of traveling execs better.

    • bmarkovic

      Quality of laptops has gone to shits since that time, in overall. ThinkPad, even Lenovo's, still pisses over Foxconn and Quanta, sorry, I meant HP and Dell competition consistently in build quality and amount of punches it can take standing. Build quality still trumps even top-notch makes like Foxconn Pro, sorry I meant Apple, or makes that also run their own factories like Asus, Acer and even Toshiba. It's just that, as I said, the never-ending marathon of squeezing more shizzle in ever thinner cases takes away from the build quality in all portables.

  • i_mleonard

    Why is it sad that Lenovo isn't a "hip" company?

    it is what it is. It's phones are cheap and full of bloatware. Motorola was going somewhere as a brand, and this is its death sentence. I will not be purchasing the MotoX2

  • Nerds Logic

    Well there goes any chance of buying another motorola device. I work in IT and Lenovo is one of my largest headaches....I was really looking forward to picking up a Motorola device on my next upgrade after experiencing my wife's Moto X....those dreams are gone now

  • Diaz1999

    To Lenovo:

    PLEASE LENOVO! DON'T DISTURB MOTOROLA FROM UPDATING THEY MOTO X AND MOTO G OS! AND PLEASE KEEP THE MOTO UI SIMPLE!

  • Sachin

    i know from company point of view it is not at all Good but how can i say that i don't want a chinese company to takeover a western company..i wish Japanese do that .but i don't want them.

    • Aleksey_US

      Western companies do this to chinese, japanes as well and in many other companies all the time.

  • LE Sacks

    Gotta' be said. Lenovo sells, essentially, to those IT guys who think the answer to every one's IT needs is MS... The nirvana for whom is to provide SharePoint on a mobile.
    Think about it.

    Motorola will be the next big Windows mobile phone.

  • ajay

    i bought the moto g.was it a mistake??will google stop its support??wont i get anymore updates?????