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Motorola Droid 3
Google will acquire Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion USD

Well, we didn't see that one coming. Google just announced today via its official blog that itwould be acquiring Motorola Mobility, an American company that produces everything from the Wayans Family-esque lineup of Droid smartphones to the 10.1" Xoom tablet.

The transaction price comes in at a relatively modest (for Google) $12.5 billion, which at $40/share represents a 63 percent price premium over Motorola Mobility's closing price on Friday (MMI is up nearly 60 percent following the opening bell). Not surprisingly, the deal was unanimously approved by both companies' boards.

“This transaction offers significant value for Motorola Mobility’s stockholders and provides compelling new opportunities for our employees, customers, and partners around the world," said Sanjay Jha, CEO of Motorola Mobility. "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.”

“We expect that this combination will enable us to break new ground for the Android ecosystem," added Andy Rubin, Google's Mobile SVP. "However, our vision for Android is unchanged and Google remains firmly committed to Android as an open platform and a vibrant open source community. We will continue to work with all of our valued Android partners to develop and distribute innovative Android-powered devices.”

If there are no legal roadblocks in Google's path, the deal will be completed by early 2012.

According to Google CEO Larry Page, the move to purchase Motorola Mobility will not have an affect on the openness of the Android operating system. "We will run Motorola as a separate business," said Page. "Many hardware partners have contributed to Android’s success and we look forward to continuing to work with all of them to deliver outstanding user experiences."

Page goes on to say that we should expect to see great things on the hardware and software side of things:

The combination of Google and Motorola will not only supercharge Android, but will also enhance competition and offer consumers accelerating innovation, greater choice, and wonderful user experiences. I am confident that these great experiences will create huge value for shareholders.

This purchase will also give Google access to a treasure trove of patents in order to defend itself from competitors. According to The Street, Motorola has a war chest of over 17,000 patents.

Interestingly, Motorola Mobility's Sanjay Jha seemed quite receptive to using Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 operating system just last week. We can now safely assume that those notions are completely dead.

Updated 8/15/2011 @ 3:30pm

Google has posted four quotes from other Android handset makers regarding the acquisition of Motorola Mobility. It seems quite odd how robotic and same-sounding all of the quotes are…

“We welcome today’s news, which demonstrates Google’s deep commitment to defending Android, its partners, and the ecosystem.” -- J.K. Shin, President, Samsung, Mobile Communications Division

“I welcome Google‘s commitment to defending Android and its partners.” -- Bert Nordberg, President & CEO, Sony Ericsson

“We welcome the news of today‘s acquisition, which demonstrates that Google is deeply committed to defending Android, its partners, and the entire ecosystem.” -- Peter Chou, CEO, HTC Corp.

“We welcome Google‘s commitment to defending Android and its partners.” -- Jong-Seok Park, Ph.D, President & CEO, LG Electronics Mobile Communications Company

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Apple wakes sleeping giant...
By nurbsenvi2 on 8/15/2011 9:03:09 AM , Rating: 5
Apple... this is why you don't fuck with Google.

RE: Apple wakes sleeping giant...
By fleshconsumed on 8/15/2011 9:10:03 AM , Rating: 2
It's still 3x more expensive than what Nortel patent portfolios went for. Of course google also gets hardware maker instead of just patents, however, is google really going to be building smartphones when they are software company only?

By retrospooty on 8/15/2011 9:20:31 AM , Rating: 5
When you buy a large manufacturing company, you are no longer a "software company only"... It will probably operate totally separately though.

RE: Apple wakes sleeping giant...
By semiconshawn on 8/15/2011 9:31:01 AM , Rating: 2
Cheap. They were not going to get the nortel patents. Outbid Microsoft and Apple? They could have bid 20 billion and still lost. They were bidding against a printing press. This is a brilliant end around though. Even if they just spin off everything but the ip its a good move for Google. Big picture 12 billion is nothing. Getting Android killed off would be catastrophic. It will be interesting to see if they try and build some "killer" in house phones for a while before they sell off the hardware side.

RE: Apple wakes sleeping giant...
By B3an on 8/16/2011 2:58:02 AM , Rating: 2
The thing is MS asked Google if they wanted to join them on the bid, but Google didn't accept. MS posted the emails when Google started crying of some conspiracy.

RE: Apple wakes sleeping giant...
By Kiffberet on 8/16/2011 10:52:17 AM , Rating: 2
It's only a good idea if Google and Motorola can come up with a top selling phone/pad.
If not, they run the risk of losing massive revenues when HTC, Samsung and ALL other phone/pad manufacturers that use Android start looking at using a different operating system (Microsoft, perhaps?).

RE: Apple wakes sleeping giant...
By nafhan on 8/15/2011 1:15:47 PM , Rating: 3
It's still 3x more expensive than what Nortel patent portfolios went for.
Did you notice there's also roughly 3x more patents?
Also, pure speculation, but IT'S MOTOROLA. So, it seems likely that there's a higher proportion of applicable patents in this transaction than the Nortel one. Finally, don't forget, they're also getting an entire phone manufacturer on top of the patents.

I'm also really interested to see what Google does with the hardware side of things. Personally, I'd like to see the handset division get spun off, and Google use the Moto patents purely for defensive posturing. I'll go ahead and chalk that up to wishful thinking, though :)

RE: Apple wakes sleeping giant...
By drycrust3 on 8/15/2011 5:06:58 PM , Rating: 2

My bet is that somewhere is a filing cabinet with a picture of some doohickey that has exactly the same shape as a iPad! "Oh no ... look Apple stole the shape of our 1985 PCM bit error detecting set".

RE: Apple wakes sleeping giant...
By bigboxes on 8/15/2011 10:18:02 AM , Rating: 5
Yup. So, when Apple says that you must stop making devices that are rectangular and have a touch screen Google says fine. Just remove all cell phone capabilities from your devices. Ouch.

RE: Apple wakes sleeping giant...
By ltcommanderdata on 8/15/2011 10:29:54 AM , Rating: 2
I wonder do patent acquisitions apply retroactively? This will no doubt discourage future lawsuits, but can these patents be used for current lawsuits? The argument that I might have been doing something shady for the past few years, but since I just bought a ton of patents, everything should be forgiven and forgotten seems kind of strange.

RE: Apple wakes sleeping giant...
By danjw1 on 8/15/2011 10:48:22 AM , Rating: 2
A lawsuit can be settled any time both sides wants it to be. With these new patents, Google can go after the other companies that are hounding Android. Google, is the rare exception, in that they have only ever used patents defensively. You better bet that Apple and Microsoft will try to get regulators to block this acquisition. But I just don't see the case they can make for that, other than: "Well we really, really want you to!!".

This is different from a class action suit or a criminal case, where the judge must decide if the deal is going to be accepted.

RE: Apple wakes sleeping giant...
By michael67 on 8/15/2011 10:55:21 AM , Rating: 1
In this case yes i think so.

In the past, ware patents that ware acquired for offensive use, ware usually forced to be licensed at reasonable rates.

Here the company Motorola it self still dose the patent (counter)suit, and are properly mostly used defensively.

And what properly even gone hurt MS/Apple more is that even do Motorola must make a profit to, they play second fiddle to Android now.
So in a game of patent chicken, Motorola can mouths easier pull the trigger then the others can.

RE: Apple wakes sleeping giant...
By Stuka on 8/15/2011 2:29:55 PM , Rating: 5
Is english your first language? If so, you need a new speech-to-text engine or a new brain-to-finger engine. lol

RE: Apple wakes sleeping giant...
By Gungel on 8/15/2011 10:44:41 AM , Rating: 2
My understanding is that Motorola licensed most of the patents relating to cell phones a long time ago. Apple, MS and others have access to most of Motorola's IP.

RE: Apple wakes sleeping giant...
By nafhan on 8/15/2011 1:21:23 PM , Rating: 2
Suing MS and friends probably isn't Google's intention. At this point, Google probably did this to protect Android licensees rather than go on a lawsuit spree of their own. We'll see over the next couple years, though.

RE: Apple wakes sleeping giant...
By Tony Swash on 8/15/11, Rating: -1
RE: Apple wakes sleeping giant...
By AmbroseAthan on 8/15/2011 2:38:25 PM , Rating: 2
For you go off on this topic again, here are some replies to your questions of the business sense/money:

RE: Apple wakes sleeping giant...
By Tony Swash on 8/15/11, Rating: 0
RE: Apple wakes sleeping giant...
By Reclaimer77 on 8/16/2011 8:53:49 AM , Rating: 1
Yeah right. Google has seen what happens to those who "keep alliances" with Apple before and obviously had no wish to be stabbed in the back.

By icanhascpu on 8/15/2011 1:55:12 PM , Rating: 3
Are you sure you dont want Apple to keep doing what they are doing? Becuse what Apple is doing is getting peoples blood flowing. This can only result in GOOD THINGS for the consumer. Either we get patent reform, large innovation from competitors to overcome silly patent laws, or both.

We are basically getting a fast forward in cell technology from all this. Google is annoyed, will bring out some kick ass phone, and push Apple/MS to keep pace, or (better for us) leapfrog. Repeat.

If you want real evil, look at AT&T.

By kleinma on 8/15/2011 9:34:31 AM , Rating: 4
I wonder if this is actually a good thing for companies like Microsoft.

I wonder how attached to Android companies like HTC, Samsung, and LG are going to want to be now that google is an OS and hardware vendor for its platform. Could make them shift focus towards other platforms.

RE: interesting....
By ltcommanderdata on 8/15/2011 9:52:24 AM , Rating: 3
Well it seems all the major platforms now are moving toward tight hardware+software integration. There is of course Apple with iOS/iPhone, HP with WebOS/Pre, RIM with QNX/Blackberry, then Microsoft with WP7/Nokia phones, and now Google with Android/Motorola phones.

That kind of leaves HTC, Samsung, LG, etc as the odd men out. Yes they can still compete on features, since first-party devices will probably focus on pushing a very strong core feature set leaving room on the sides, but this will limit margins since they can't likely charge a whole lot more even with more features. Plus, if Google wants to save one or two flashy, new features for their own first-party phones under the premise of getting it ironed out before rolling it out to other manufacturers, other OEMs will also be at a disadvantage.

RE: interesting....
By kleinma on 8/15/2011 10:25:30 AM , Rating: 3
Other than piles of cash, I don't know if anything has been promised to Nokia in terms of Win7 phone to give it an edge on the software side of things versus other phone makers who decide to use Win7 phone. I believe the whole nokia deal was done because none of these android handset makers were really expressing any interst in putting out phones with win7 phone platform. Sure some did make handsets, but they were released using the same hardware that droid phones had already had for over a year.

RE: interesting....
By ltcommanderdata on 8/15/2011 10:36:17 AM , Rating: 2
I don't have the original article, but I seem to remember that Nokia was supposed to get more flexibility to modify the OS, not necessarily redesign the UI, but add things, access to lower levels of the OS, etc. Perhaps Microsoft was always planning on slowly opening things up for OEM customization as subsequent versions of WP7 are released and Nokia is just the first to get visibility on this.

RE: interesting....
By tng on 8/15/2011 10:31:48 AM , Rating: 2
That kind of leaves HTC, Samsung, LG, etc as the odd men out. Yes they can still compete on features
Well most of the people I know don't really care if it is an Iphone, Android, WP7, etc.... They look at smart phones as a whole group of the same thing, only features matter, not OS. Most of the people I know who have smart phones don't know what an OS is or even care.

I think that places like HTC, LG and Samsung will do fine, as long as they make competitive phones.

RE: interesting....
By MrTeal on 8/15/2011 10:56:04 AM , Rating: 2
Well most of the people I know don't really care if it is an Iphone, Android, WP7, etc.... They look at smart phones as a whole group of the same thing, only features matter, not OS. Most of the people I know who have smart phones don't know what an OS is or even care.

You must know a lot smarter people than I do, I'm afraid, and I'm an EE. There's definitely a decent number that look at the phones more critically, but for the vast majority they want the iPhone with the most Gee Bees. Even among the people with Android phones, a lot bought them because you can get a Galaxy S for free with a 3 year activation, while an iPhone 4 32GB is $270 with 3 year activation. If they were the same price there would be even more iPhones out there.

RE: interesting....
By Dr of crap on 8/15/2011 12:34:17 PM , Rating: 2
Not sure WHY you'd want to shell out for a damn cell phone.

The carriers offer either free or reduced prices.
I haven't paid over $40 for a cell yet!

And it matters not to me what KIND ( manufacturer ) it is!

RE: interesting....
By tng on 8/16/2011 8:19:31 AM , Rating: 2
You must know a lot smarter people than I do, I'm afraid, and I'm an EE.
I am an EE as well, although most of my work is on a micron level now.

You misunderstand me I think. The people that I know are not really choosy about the phone that they own, only that it is a smart phone and it has certain features, the brand does not matter as much as long as the price is right and it is with their favorite carrier.

RE: interesting....
By nafhan on 8/15/2011 1:27:45 PM , Rating: 2
It will boil down to how Google handles Motorola. The best thing for the Android OS would obviously be to keep it open - as it is now. However, Google may end up having to choose between what's best for Android and what they perceive as best for Google corporation.

That said, if Google plans to continue with a primarily ad and service oriented revenue stream, what's best for Android and what's best for Google are the same. So, they would not want to risk alienating current partners. Either way, this is going to shake things up!

RE: interesting....
By Gungel on 8/16/2011 7:49:32 AM , Rating: 2
It seems like the stock market agrees with you, Microsoft and Nokia stocks are up and Google is down.

RE: interesting....
By Lazarus Dark on 8/16/2011 10:59:30 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, you should ask how attached are Android users to android. Android users aren't going to start buying MS phones just because HTC stops making Androids, they will buy whatever is the best Android phone available. The manufacturers cant afford to stop making Android phones.
Besides, if they innovate and make the better Android phones than Moto+Google, then there should be no problem. They can't whine about this Moto acquisition, they need to just step up and make better phones to compete. I guarantee if Moto+Google makes crappy phones I wont be buying them, I will go with the best HTC or Samsung has at the time.

By nidomus on 8/15/11, Rating: 0
RE: Patents
By Dreamwalker on 8/15/2011 8:28:34 AM , Rating: 5
Motorola has a war chest of over 17,000 patents

So yes, it does.

RE: Patents
By nidomus on 8/15/2011 8:41:49 AM , Rating: 2
D'oh. Of course... read everything but the very end of the article.

RE: Patents
By kanabalize on 8/15/2011 8:55:46 AM , Rating: 2
First order of business...

Change the damn company name....

RE: Patents
By MrTeal on 8/15/2011 10:57:00 AM , Rating: 2
What do you have against MoMo?

RE: Patents
By Omega215D on 8/15/2011 11:02:43 AM , Rating: 3

Hopefully this might mean we'll have a Nexus phone with a slide out keyboard. As well as assisting to put Apple in its place next time it decides to sue willy nilly.

Black rectangle... seriously?

RE: Patents
By ThatNewGuy on 8/15/2011 11:31:44 AM , Rating: 2

RE: Patents
By thisisaname on 8/15/2011 7:36:06 PM , Rating: 2
Mo Google?

This Could Be Good
By Sazabi19 on 8/15/2011 8:09:06 AM , Rating: 2
I hope that this is good. I like my Moto Orig Droid and I think Google wants to start making cash on these phones and that is why they are eating Moto. With google making the phone their OS is on it could be a great move. Also let's hope they won't try to choke out the other companies, competition is fueling the market right now furiously with each maker trying to continually come out with better phones... we see where a single manufacturer of a single device has made things... stale, almost more like a rotten fruit if you will.

RE: This Could Be Good
By tng on 8/15/2011 9:07:29 AM , Rating: 2
almost more like a rotten fruit if you will.

RE: This Could Be Good
By Samus on 8/15/11, Rating: 0
RE: This Could Be Good
By DanNeely on 8/15/2011 10:28:28 AM , Rating: 2
I'd also guess Nokia's value is 2-3 times that of Motorola, putting it out of reasonable price range for these companies.

Nokia's current market cap is $22bn (down from a peak of $150bn in jan 08); roughly 3x Moto's prior to the Google offer. Buying it is still in the realm of the possible for MS; but would be a huge dent in their bank account. OTOH if its price keeps falling...

When does Cisco buy RIM?
By Lord 666 on 8/15/2011 10:18:06 AM , Rating: 2
Deep business penetration, patents, and worldwide provider reach. No brainer to me

RE: When does Cisco buy RIM?
By Pirks on 8/15/2011 1:31:49 PM , Rating: 2
You better ask when John Deere buys Nintendo, this at least sounds a bit less insane.

RE: When does Cisco buy RIM?
By Lord 666 on 8/16/2011 6:24:35 PM , Rating: 2
What is insane about it? Buying a cable box maker proved to be a questionable purchase. At least Blackberry has brand name recognition and interested parties. Cable boxes are a commodity mainly purchased because that is what the provider gives you.

Motorola Mobility not "Motorola"
By Shadowself on 8/15/2011 3:27:55 PM , Rating: 2
Google is purchasing Motorola Mobility *NOT* 100% of Motorola. What percentage of those ~17,000 patents are actually owned by Motorola Mobility? 50%? 70%? 90%?

It's not 100%.

But certainly it's enough for Google to think there are enough to be worth that huge price tag.

And what percentage of the core patents that are owned by Motorola Mobility are already licensed to much of the world (including Apple and Microsoft)?

By kitonne on 8/15/2011 3:58:51 PM , Rating: 2
Read the separation agreement. Both Motorola Solutions and Motorola Mobility have full rights to 100% of the IP portfolio of old Motorola. It was the only was the only way to do it, due to the manufacturing and test patents, which are in use by both companies.

By cjohnson2136 on 8/15/2011 4:09:55 PM , Rating: 2
And what percentage of the core patents that are owned by Motorola Mobility are already licensed to much of the world (including Apple and Microsoft)?

Who cares what percentage is licensed. Because since Google owns the patent that can stop the licensing agreement or make money from the Apple/MS or whoever else license.

By kitonne on 8/15/2011 3:00:18 PM , Rating: 3
Motorola Mobility has co-ownership of all old Motorola IP. I can say that Motorola did not defend its IP properly, and in most cases the higher ups had no idea how many patents were trampled up by competition. Also, keep in mind that Motorola has/had a huge chest of cross-licensed patents. Let's look at some of what is in there (incomplete list, but is a start):

1/ Process technology - Six Sigma, Lean, Process Average Testing - they all have patents and were invented in Motorola. Pretty much all companies out there making high volume electronics are probably infringing one or more Motorola process or manufacturing / testing patents, regardless of the product. Motorola did not want to sue people for using 6 sigma - Google may view things differently, at least where Apple is concerned.

2/ Silicon IP - Freescale and OnSemi may have been independent for a while, but Moto owns the patents. Not sure if all of SUN's silicon is so far away from Moto's basic patents on memory interface to a CPU, cache coherency, dynamic clock speed changes, etc. to avoid counter-litigation for past infringement. This may help Google in its ongoing dispute with Oracle. Also, there are smaller guys out there who would LOVE to license the rights to make 'HC05, 68K, 'HC08, or 'HC11 / HC12 compatible chips - they are still used in high volume out there and will be for many years to come.

3/ Software - has anybody seen Moto's Java license? Until somebody can say for sure, it is a huge wildcard - it may get Google off the hook with Android as far as Java is concerned, at least for the future. Not to mention a lot of other software (Motorola made and sold its own Unix variant ages ago) which may come it handy...

4/ Basic RF and cell phone patents - Nokia and Moto may have had a cross license, but I would be amazed if Nokia had any rights to sub-license Moto's IP to Apple as part of their settlement. In other words, this alone may get Google home free and force Apple to cross-license.

5/ Satellite technology - Iridium worked, and the same basic technology / IP can be licensed to third parties, if Google is not interested in its own satellite fleet :)

6/ Automotive technology - Moto sold to Continental its automotive division in 2006, but it has IP license rights to all products made up to that point - from MEMS and packaging know-how, to sensors and automotive modules (trans, body, engine, powertrain, telematics). Some guys would be quite interested in that portfolio...

By ipay on 8/15/2011 6:38:53 PM , Rating: 2
And they got all this for about the same price MS paid for Skype.

I have no idea as to how this will pan out
By Tony Swash on 8/15/2011 1:43:44 PM , Rating: 2
I have no idea as to how this will pan out. It could be brilliant, it could be a disaster, it could just end up being nothing. Big gutsy move by Google though.

Google just added 19,000 new employees in what appears to be a defensive move. 19,000! Google itself only has 29,000. Google just increased the size of itself by 60% - I wonder if they can manage that. I also wonder if Google plans anything special with Motorola hardware - if they do then that will drastically effect their Android OEM partnerships. Like I said - big move.

By kitonne on 8/15/2011 3:09:07 PM , Rating: 2
Most of those employees are outside US, in the plants. Remember, Motorola makes its own phones, it does not rely on third parties as much as the competition. It is safe to say that manufacturing guys will have very little impact on Google or combined company, mainly because of location. This makes the impact much less traumatic then it may seem at first glance, and if Google is serious about operating Moto as a separate company, the impact is minimal.

By villageidiotintern on 8/15/2011 2:41:29 PM , Rating: 2
Die, motoblur, die!

RE: MotoBlur
By Yodog on 8/16/2011 3:19:14 PM , Rating: 2
In fact Motoblr should never exist! Huge piece of crap!

By Tony Swash on 8/15/2011 6:11:18 PM , Rating: 2
I could be wrong of course. As soon as I had penned the comment above I came across this article arguing the opposite case. Sounds cogent but I still tend towards the defensive move scenario. Time will tell.

By gooing on 8/15/2011 10:02:14 PM , Rating: 2
I like this summary - fleshes out a more reasoned business case than the superficial defense-one.


The logical response to your Android criticism Tony, is, how does Google go about monetising Android in ways other than what it does now? Perhaps step one is to become more vertically integrated? Certainly this move preserves Android's position in the market and makes it less dependent on being flavour of the day with the OEMs.

The IP defense may or may not prove to be the sleeper-hit of the deal, we will just have to wait and see how this pans out in the litigation process.

Larry Page's statement translated
By Tony Swash on 8/15/2011 1:56:44 PM , Rating: 1
This is good - but then Brain S Hall rarely fails to amuse and stimulate. Worth a read.

By troysavary on 8/15/2011 7:34:34 PM , Rating: 2
After perusing that site, I understand why you are such a raving lunatic when it comes to all things Apple and tech in general if that is where you get your information. I could pick up a copy of Weekly World News and expect more accurate predictions. Facebook will be bigger than Google AND Microsoft? There will be no more white POTUSA after 2016? We will be sitting down to webcam meals with the kids we sponsor in Africa? WTF? They have no food, but will have a computer and internet connection? Windows, e-mail and Office are all on his deathwatch? Bing will be MS largest revenue stream?

By atlmann10 on 8/15/2011 4:15:46 PM , Rating: 2
Think about this, and or these things, Google has Google voice (a VOIP skype type client), Google has G+, Google has Google docs, Google owns search, Google owns webmail, Google has a cloud monster with music and everything else, Google Office, Google chat, Google now has a cell phone company and all it's patents. As far as I know the first truly mobile cellular device I ever saw was a Motorola StarTac flip phone which I then bought. This means that back bone of a mobile cellular device is basically owned out right by Motorola mobility, which will now be part of Google. Seems to me Google want some Apple pie for desert!

By johnsonx on 8/15/2011 9:54:14 PM , Rating: 2
"I for one welcome our new Google overlords!"

Very good analysis
By Tony Swash on 8/16/2011 12:30:46 PM , Rating: 2
Very clear analysis from Horace Dediu, who is an independent analyst and founder of, at the Harvard Business Review

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