Motorola Windows Phones in doubt following Google acquisition

By Tom Warren, on 15th Aug 11 11:53 am with 64 Comments

Google announced on Monday that it plans to acquire Motorola Mobility.

The deal, valued at $12.5 billion, will see tighter integration of Android in Motorola’s Droid devices. Larry Page, CEO of Google, said, “Motorola Mobility’s total commitment to Android has created a natural fit for our two companies. Together, we will create amazing user experiences that supercharge the entire Android ecosystem for the benefit of consumers, partners and developers. I look forward to welcoming Motorolans to our family of Googlers.”

Google claims it will run Motorola Mobility as a separate business but the tight Android integration will likely leave Windows Phone out in the cold. Motorola CEO Sanjay Jha told investors that the company is “completely open” to using Windows on its handsets despite its Android focus. Jha made his comments at an investor conference last week, prior to the Google deal. “We’re not leading the charge on Windows 8 but as we become comfortable that there’s a viable ecosystem and quality of innovation and quality of services being there, we’ll certainly be open to it,” he said. “Clearly all of our focus today is on Android.”

Motorola’s senior executive Christy Wyatt previously said that Motorola would not be opting to use Windows Phone 7. “I don’t envision us using Microsoft,” said Wyatt at the Mobile World Congress conference in February. “I would never say never but it’s not something we’re entertaining now.”

Microsoft and Motorola are both in the middle of patent spats concerning Android. Google CEO Larry Page noted on Monday that Microsoft and Apple are “banding together in anti-competitive patent attacks on Android.” Citing recent patent auctions, Page expects that Google’s acquisition will help protect Android. “Our acquisition of Motorola will increase competition by strengthening Google’s patent portfolio, which will enable us to better protect Android from anti-competitive threats from Microsoft, Apple and other companies,” said Page.

The deal is expected to close by the end of 2011 or early 2012. Sanjay Jha, CEO of Motorola Mobility, said, “This transaction offers significant value for Motorola Mobility’s stockholders and provides compelling new opportunities for our employees, customers, and partners around the world. We have shared a productive partnership with Google to advance the Android platform, and now through this combination we will be able to do even more to innovate and deliver outstanding mobility solutions across our mobile devices and home businesses.”

Update: Google has released the following statements from Android manufacturers:

Peter Chou, CEO, HTC:

“We welcome the news of today’s acquisition, which demonstrates that Google is deeply committed to defending Android, its partners, and the entire ecosystem.”

Bert Nordberg, President & CEO, Sony Ericsson:

“I welcome Google’s commitment to defending Android and its partners.”

Jong-Seok Park, President & CEO, LG:

“We welcome Google’s commitment to defending Android and its partners.”

  • Anonymous

    Nobody wanted them anyways

  • http://www.facebook.com/dominic.blakey Dominic Blakey

    Motorola suck anyway. Your not cool if you have one of their phones.

  • http://twitter.com/s_a_r_k_i_s sarkis chamelian

    Motorola are a bit of an idiot, if your pinning your whole mobile division on just Android good luck, there is a saying that you don’t keep all your eggs in one basket, and this is a typical example. If you look at HTC, Samsung and LG they all have Windows Phone and Android devices…..anyway, only time will tell if Motorola made the right move, in my books its already a FAIL !  

    • Anonymous

      “Motorola are a bit of an idiot”

      *facepalm*

    • http://twitter.com/michaelcollado Michael Collado

      Across the pond, companies are plural. And if you clicked through to his profile, you’d see that Sarkis is from London. (Of course, you could be facepalming for another reason, I don’t know :D)

    • http://twitter.com/michaelcollado Michael Collado

      Across the pond, companies are plural. And if you clicked through to his profile, you’d see that Sarkis is from London. (Of course, you could be facepalming for another reason, I don’t know :D)

  • http://www.facebook.com/rknevhulaudzi Rendani K Nevhulaudzi

    Lol.. who wants Motorola, of all the people i know, no one uses one and no one is expecting to buy one, they must just stick to selling two-way phones…

  • Guest5

    Not a smart move by Motorola.  Allowing themselves to be gobbled up by a tech thief that is Google.  Also when Android is banned for being a complete IP thief what’s Moto going to do ?

    • Test1ngi23

      Still sounds like a safer bet than WP7 is now.

  • Tuxplorer

    This is fantastic news for Microsoft and Nokia! I don’t know what Google were thinking there.

  • Tuxplorer

    This is fantastic news for Microsoft and Nokia! I don’t know what Google were thinking there.

    • http://twitter.com/XxRuinationxX Carl Q. Tate

      I know exactly what Google was thinking.  the thought of Motorola getting in bed with MS would have been a stiff blow below the belt for android.  They simply did it to block the potential move. The move still comes off as killing flies with shotguns. SMH

    • Guest

      I seriously doubt this deal just came between last week’s Motorola statement about maybe considering adding Wp7 and now. It likely has been under discussion for months. In fact, one question I have is did Google start this after losing the Nortel patents or was the latter just theater and they were going this route all along?

  • Anonymous

    surely this will piss off HTC now that google will be first party handset company

    • Aaron

      If I were HTC or Samsung right now I would seriously question my focus on Android.  Google can claim otherwise, but its pretty clear Motorola will be given an unfair advantage over the other OEM’s, even more so than Nokia + Microsoft.  I’m not saying they will dump Android but I think they would be wise to diversify more.

    • Anton

      Motorola will stay Motorola for a while. It’s outside of Google and probably could be left to die alone if it became a liability.

      From the CEO responses, they all seems to be focused on one thing, patent protection. Google’s release also focused on the patent instead of providing better devices to the market.

    • Guest

      Why would anyone spend almost $13B for patent protection to defend a business where you give away the OS for free? Does the DOJ needs fucking burning bush to tell them this is about Google extending its search dominance and not about mobile per se?

    • Guest

      Why would anyone spend almost $13B for patent protection to defend a business where you give away the OS for free? Does the DOJ needs fucking burning bush to tell them this is about Google extending its search dominance and not about mobile per se?

  • Anonymous

    surely this will piss off HTC now that google will be first party handset company

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000678662470 Vincent Haakmat

    Like Spongebob would say…”ehhhm… Good luck with that..”

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000678662470 Vincent Haakmat

    Like Spongebob would say…”ehhhm… Good luck with that..”

  • http://twitter.com/starksimon Stark

    How long until MS buys Nokia?

    • http://twitter.com/oolong2 oolong2

      Microsoft will never buy Nokia.   It doesn’t make sense.   They just made a huge partnering deal so they wouldn’t need to.

      Why buy the cow when the milk is free…..

    • Tom

      Microsoft *should not* buy Nokia.

      At this point, however, after Skype, after aQuantive, after Danger/Kin, I am not confident in saying that Microsoft “will not” do anything — regardless of how little sense it makes.

  • Anonymous

    Oh lord this is great. To all you Google fans who laughed at MS buying Skype, this one’s for you!

    • Tom

      True enough, but Microsoft hardly comes out ahead.

      If your competitor does something stupid and you also do something stupid, then neither of you has gained anything.

  • Anonymous

    Oh lord this is great. To all you Google fans who laughed at MS buying Skype, this one’s for you!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Pedro-Roque/100000194503830 Pedro Roque

    Motorolo using Windows Phone is a non-issue at this point. Clearly It will never happen.

    Nut this move by Google clearly shows us that they are getting really worried about the future of Android, mainly because of IP issues. But if this is the best they could come up with, I really think this solves nothing, and could, potentialy, move the other OEMs to see WP as a viable alternative, perhaps one that deserves more than a frikin’ model per year! (I’m talking at you, Samsung!)

  • Guest

    This was the plan all along.  When Motorola broke off MMI they must have done this with the expectation to sell it.  The question is was it worth it.  The initial stock price of $25 is not that much of a difference from the $40 that Google paid.  Who got the better end of this deal?

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Pedro-Roque/100000194503830 Pedro Roque

      “Who got the better end of this deal?”

      That all come down to patents. In the long run, I think Google just throw 12M out of the window. This seems like a desperate attempt to secure some IP.

    • Guest

      $40 for a $25 stock is a huge premium – 60%. Usually something like this would have gotten done for 15-40%.

    • Guest

      $40 for a $25 stock is a huge premium – 60%. Usually something like this would have gotten done for 15-40%.

  • Guest

    Well this solves Google’s patent infringement problem due to the fact they have one of if not the largest mobile patent portfolios in the world.

    • http://twitter.com/efjay01 Ef Jay

      Wont make much difference, these same patents were already in Moto’s hands and that didnt stop Microsoft suing them. So those patents cant have amounted to much in the first place.

    • Guest

      No. It actually puts them directly in the crosshairs of Apple and MS.

    • Anonymous

      This statement is dumber than the move google just made and Motorola is laughing all the way to the bank!

      As many others here already articulated. Motorola was facing similar if not the same IP conflicts that forced others such as HTC and a half dozen other manufacturers interested in selling Android sign a deal with Microsoft.

      This acquisition allows google to sign a one time deal with those attacking it via IP lawsuits and then bundle the protection it would gain with the license so that HTC Samsung LG won’t need to sign a separate agreement with MS or anyone else claiming IP violation. This move is not the end all and be all it’s a stepping stone to allow for such protection to exist.

      Moreover, I think google had to be concerned with Motorola’s chief stating last week that he’d go WP in a heartbeat if MS was willing to give him the same deal it gave to Nokia. Afterall, Motorola was/is the only device maker that’s 100% committed to google. If they defect it would have been a checkmate.

      The part that I heard nothing about so far still is… Now that Android costs at least $12.5 billion. Will it or could it even continue to be distributed freely?

    • Guest

      “This acquisition allows google to sign a one time deal with those attacking it via IP lawsuits and then bundle the protection it would gain with the license so that HTC Samsung LG won’t need to sign a separate agreement with MS or anyone else claiming IP violation.”

      I don’t see how this deal does that at all. Google was always free to negotiate rights and offer blanket protections for its OEMs. It just chose not to, subjecting almost all of them to lawsuits and settlements. In fact the deal could lead to Google only protecting their Motorola unit and leaving everyone else out in the cold.

      “Moreover, I think google had to be concerned with Motorola’s chief stating last week that he’d go WP in a heartbeat if MS was willing to give him the same deal it gave to Nokia.”

      We this announcement, which must have been in the works for months, we can safely conclude this statement was simply an attempt at upping the bid price from Google. 

    • Anonymous

      I think the only problem is that Microsoft and Apple probably already have licensing agreements in place with Motorola for any patents that are still relevent to todays mobile phones. Google won’t be able to void them just because they bought the company.

  • Anonymous

    Google just made Microsoft’s
    job of selling WP7 a lot easier.  Who is going to buy hardware that
    won’t receive updates in a timely matter from the other providers and
    has hardware that wasn’t built around the OS.  I think we’ll see
    Samsung, Sony, and HTC slowly make a bigger commitment to WP7.

    • Test1ngi23

      Smartphones mamufacters isn’t a numbers game. Look at Apple. They have a huge share all on their own.

    • Larry

      Or maybe Google can now pull and apple and allow users to update directly from Google.  I would bet that the next Xoom is the best Honeycomb tablet out there.  I dread the mango update for my Focus, since it will probably being Feb of next year before ATT will let me.

      Dont under estimate this purchase.  Apple has huge success because the own everything, and hence control the experience.

      Microsoft should buy Nokia and do the same.

    • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/6G3ZZJCHOLYP3S5CRCIHQ7WDSE MVIM

      I agree with everything here, except the last statement. Microsoft doesn’t need to buy Nokia to coordinate updates with them. This partnership that they have is just as good as what Google is getting with Motorola, if not better. Microsoft gets Nokia’s commitment without having to upset the rest of their partners.

      The biggest hurdle isn’t the OEMs anyway, it is the carriers. The only fix for that is either to work out an Apple-like deal with somebody like AT&T to get updates out on Microsoft’s terms instead of AT&T’s, or to buy a carrier. I’d love to see Microsoft buy AT&T. But I think that they have a closer relationship with T-Mobile, so until the AT&T/T-Mobile deal is decided, that would never happen.

  • BigChiefSmokem

    It has been begun…

    MOBILE KOMBAT!!!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_3OIDXOI5OEMTX6Z3O5YUBFSISA Diego3336

    The good side is at least Motorola is staying in American hands. The bad side is it Google’s hands. But since my Motorola Alpha-numeric Pager, I never had a Motorola product that lasted for more than a year, and that includes a Sky DTH set-top box.

    • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/6G3ZZJCHOLYP3S5CRCIHQ7WDSE MVIM

      True. I had always hoped I’d be able to go back to Motorola someday, since having to give up my Q9h to move on to Windows Phone 7. While I love Nokia’s product quality more than Moto, it would be nice to have an American-owned option for Windows Phone. I guess that day won’t materialize with MMI being absorbed by the Dark Side.

    • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/6G3ZZJCHOLYP3S5CRCIHQ7WDSE MVIM

      True. I had always hoped I’d be able to go back to Motorola someday, since having to give up my Q9h to move on to Windows Phone 7. While I love Nokia’s product quality more than Moto, it would be nice to have an American-owned option for Windows Phone. I guess that day won’t materialize with MMI being absorbed by the Dark Side.

    • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/6G3ZZJCHOLYP3S5CRCIHQ7WDSE MVIM

      True. I had always hoped I’d be able to go back to Motorola someday, since having to give up my Q9h to move on to Windows Phone 7. While I love Nokia’s product quality more than Moto, it would be nice to have an American-owned option for Windows Phone. I guess that day won’t materialize with MMI being absorbed by the Dark Side.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_3OIDXOI5OEMTX6Z3O5YUBFSISA Diego3336

    The good side is at least Motorola is staying in American hands. The bad side is it Google’s hands. But since my Motorola Alpha-numeric Pager, I never had a Motorola product that lasted for more than a year, and that includes a Sky DTH set-top box.

  • Anonymous

    HOOOOOOOOOOOOLD THE PRESS!

    “We’re not leading the charge on Windows 8 but as we become comfortable that there’s a viable ecosystem and quality of innovation and quality of services being there, we’ll certainly be open to it,”

    THIS IS A JOKE RIGHT?!?!  Quality?  Where the hell is the quality in Android?  Crap statements like that really get me going. 

  • Anonymous

    HOOOOOOOOOOOOLD THE PRESS!

    “We’re not leading the charge on Windows 8 but as we become comfortable that there’s a viable ecosystem and quality of innovation and quality of services being there, we’ll certainly be open to it,”

    THIS IS A JOKE RIGHT?!?!  Quality?  Where the hell is the quality in Android?  Crap statements like that really get me going. 

  • http://twitter.com/Joy1980 Joyette Scantlebury

    Is it just me or does this make the blog post by Drummond make more sense? By complaining about that Apple and Microsoft are teaming up to attack Android, it made this purchase seem as a logical step with Motorola’s patents. Sales/Purchases like this don’t happen over night, this must have been in discussions for weeks if not months. 

    Remember, they are the leader and the leader buying a company that owns thousands of mobile patents is inviting an anti-trust investigation. By complaining that post, it gives them the excuse of it being purely defensive. I believe that the moment that Steve Ballmer said that Android is not patent free that Google was planning this. This, to me, would explain why Google has sat back and watched MS and Apple sue for licensing without trying to protect. 

    • Guest

      It’s possible, but I think you (and Dan Lyons, who wrote a similar article today) are giving Google more credit for Machiavellian brilliance than they deserve. This smells more like a reaction than some well thought out plan.

  • Anonymous

    3 big things come out of all of this:

    1.  Google realized they just can’t do things and expect to get away with them because they are Google.  Time to patent up!

    2.  The statements from other Android partners was released by Google, and it feels like they were also written by Google. 

    3.  Microsoft has shown a lot of class by not saying something stupid about turkeys or eagles.  Google has a lot of internal immaturity.

  • http://twitter.com/oolong2 oolong2

    This may be a really smart move or a REALLY stupid one by Google.

    Google is now a handset/tablet maker.  So they are now direct competitors with everyone else that uses Android….

    This may cause Samsung, HTC, LG, etc. to put more support behind Windows Phone than Android.  At least Microsoft can pretend that Nokia is just another partner.  With this deal the ambiguity is gone and Google may be drawing a line in the sand against it’s own partners…  we’ll see.

    P.S.  What’s up with the “Stepford Wife” response from the other Android manufacturers?  Gee lets not be too obvious that they were told exactly what to say in response to the news…

    • Guest

      What they say publicly and what they think about it privately are likely two different things. They can’t be happy about Google becoming a direct competitor in handsets. And if MS is smart, they’re going to all of them ad saying “see, that’s what you get for trusting Google over us”.

    • NotBob

      Don’t look at what they say, look at what they didn’t say.  It’s like that old adage ”If you don’t have something good to say then don’t say it at all.”  In this case there is *some* good news.  At least Google is trying to defend an OS that these manufacturers made a bet on.  But that’s all.

    • Guest

      Google could have defended the OS anytime it wanted to just by providing direct indemnification for all Android OEMs. Buying Motorola wasn’t required and doesn’t immediately help those OEMs. It’s still business as usual and they’re on their own. It also gives them a direct competitor where one didn’t exist previously.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t see how this helps Google if the own the patents instead of Motorola. Apple and Microsoft are sueing Motorola with all those patents. The fact that Google now owns them means nothing. Now more hiding Google behind a so called free OS while your OEMS fight patent litigation. Now you will be sued directly. Those patents must not be strong if Apple and Microsoft are suing Motorola.     

  • Justfortherecord

    This truly is an indication that Google is scared about the viability of Android as a mobile O.S. and its future. I believe it bought Motorola as a last ditch effort to protect its market share. This appears to be an attempt at routing the Microsoft I.P. licensing dispute/license agreements. Though looking a Microsoft and other Hand Held makers it could inadvertently backfire forcing and pushing other makers to drop android (keep in limited numbers) and push Windows Phone 7. This was I hate to say it a Knee Jerk reaction on Google’s part. David Drummond must have put a very large foot in somebody’s mouth to warrant this kind of action (Google’s purchase of Motorola Mobility). This could potentially mark the beginning of the end for Android as the Dominant player and make way for Microsoft Windows Phone 7 (MWP7). To gain steady market share while Android slowly recedes.

  • Wourelia

    Motorola has 17000 patents (+7500 pending), so it´s not that expansive.

    • Anonymous

      Motorola has been around a long time. Some of those patents are worthless. It’s only worth it if they can get significant revenue licensing those patents or they can use them in their current devices.

    • Anonymous

      Motorola has been around a long time. Some of those patents are worthless. It’s only worth it if they can get significant revenue licensing those patents or they can use them in their current devices.

  • C Brown

    Good ridance from the state of Motorola’s handsets and past experiences with their “blur” devices I think they would only hinder the perception of WP7 as it did with Cnet’s Molly Wood and her Droid’s.
    I would also prefer Moto to not be involved in the creation of Win 8 tablets. MS needs to start cutting the fat from partners and if they are not performing Get rid of them !

  • http://twitter.com/NorrathReaver Shane Nokes

    So I wonder if any of Google’s partners welcome Google’s commitment to defending Android and its partners. ;)