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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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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.

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