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Those were some expensive patents

Google Inc. (GOOG) bought Motorola Mobility back in 2011 for $12.5B USD.  Now it's officially preparing to cut ties with the troubled acquisition, taking a big loss on its investment.
I. Bargain for Lenovo -- Perhaps
Reuters, The New York Times, and the China Daily were among the first to report that deal could be nearing an end with a proposed sale of the phone division of Motorola to the Hong Kong, China-based Lenovo Group, Ltd.'s (HKG: 0992).  Google just made the news official, announcing its intent to sell the unit to Lenovo at a price of $2.91B USD.

For Lenovo the deal makes sense.  Currently the third largest global phone seller, the Motorola unit gives Lenovo multiple options including the possibility of using the relatively well known American brand as a ticket for its upcoming U.S. device rollout.
Lenovo has been on an acquisition tear recently, acquiring International Business Machines, Corp.'s (IBM) server unit for $2.3B USD, a follow-up of sorts to its 2005 acquisition of IBM's personal computer unit for $1.75B USD.
Lenovo CEO Yang Yuanqing comments:

The acquisition of such an iconic brand, innovative product portfolio and incredibly talented global team will immediately make Lenovo a strong global competitor in smartphones. We will immediately have the opportunity to become a strong global player in the fast-growing mobile space.

We are confident that we can bring together the best of both companies to deliver products customers will love and a strong, growing business. Lenovo has a proven track record of successfully embracing and strengthening great brands – as we did with IBM’s Think brand – and smoothly and efficiently integrating companies around-the-world. I am confident we will be successful with this process, and that our companies will not only maintain our current momentum in the market, but also build a strong foundation for the future.

Motorola Mobility's sales aren't great.  Over the six quarters it's been ruled by Google, here are the results...
  • Q2-Q4 2012
    • Revenue: $4.13B USD
    • Operating Loss: $1.05B USD
  • Q1-Q3 2013
    • Revenue: $3.20B USD
    • Operating Loss: $861M USD
Google is set to report its Q4 2013 earnings tomorrow (Jan. 30), but things aren't looking great.  In Q3 2013, Motorola managed to sell only an estimated 500,000 units of its flagship Moto X Android smartphone according to the market analysts over at Strategy Analytics.  Price cuts on the device in Q4 may have boosted sales, but would not necessarily have stopped the bleeding of cash from the unit.
Still, Motorola is the #3 U.S. Android smartphone seller, according to Android's maker Google.  That would indicate it to be around fourth or fifth place (by Google's estimation, at least) in the U.S. market -- not a bad place to start.  Google also estimates Motorola to be the #3 Android seller in Latin America; another market where Lenovo's smartphone push is looking to expand into.
II. Larry Page's First Failure
In retrospect it's hard to deny that the Motorola purchase was a rare slip-up for Google CEO Larry Page, who took over from Eric Schmidt at the start of 2011.

Larry Page
Google CEO Larry Page [Image Source: Emmanuel Dunand]
Back in Dec. 2012, Google sold off the Motorola set-top box division to the ARRIS Group, Inc. (ARRS), for roughly $2.3B USD -- a bit of a refund on the $12.5B USD it paid for Motorola back in 2011.
In total, Google will be roughly $7.3B USD in the hold on the deal, not to mention the roughly $1.9B USD it lost trying to downsize the unit into useful form via expensive layoffs and restructuring.
Under the announced sales agreement Google would keep the majority of Motorola Mobility's estimated 11,000 mobile patents, most of which were filed for in the company's glory days in the 90s and mid-2000s.  Lenovo will get "over 2,000 patent assets, as well as the Motorola Mobility brand and trademark portfolio" -- plus licensing rights to the remaining 9,000 (est.) patents.

Google on Motorola
The Motorola purchase made things awkward for Android OEMs. [Image Source: TechnoBuffalo]

Google CEO Larry Page comments on the deal:

Lenovo has the expertise and track record to scale Motorola Mobility into a major player within the Android ecosystem. This move will enable Google to devote our energy to driving innovation across the Android ecosystem, for the benefit of smartphone users everywhere.

That's about as close to a mea culpa as you get from Google.  Depending on the value of remaining patents, it's likely Google (who makes around $3B USD a quarter in net income) lost about two quarters worth of cash in the deal.  The deal also reportedly created tension between Google and its OEM partners who feared having to compete with their OS provider.
That fear made things awkward for Google and may have held back Motorola from being more aggressive with adopting new hardware.  While impressive in terms of battery life, recent Motorola devices have trailed their competitors in terms of the overall spec.
III. The Rockstar Bidco Factor
Some have long said that Google bought Motorola as a hasty, reactionary move to legal rivals Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) and Apple Inc. (AAPL) (among others) outbidding it for the patent portfolio of the defunct Nortel.  On a per-patent basis, Google's $7.3B USD net payment for ~9,000 patents, isn't that bad considering that the Microsoft and Apple-led "Rockstar Bidco" won the 6,000 patent Nortel portfolio for $4.3B USD.

Given the extra $1.9B USD Google lost from ongoing business running Motorola the deal becomes a bit worse in retrospect.  And factor in that the patent portfolio was heavily encumbered by obligatory licensing and has not been a successful defensive tool for Google in court, and the purchase seems much worse.

That's not to say Apple, Microsoft, and the rest of the "Rockstar Consortium" paid a smart amount for Nortel's patents.  While those companies are attempting to expand into a massive campaign of troll-like lawsuits against cable providers, modem-makers, Android phonemakers, and more, it remains to be seen how much value can really be made without hurting their own relationships with the potential targets -- many of which are also business partners to the owners.

But one thing is for sure -- Google lost some money from Motorola and failed to fully turn around the fallen U.S. mobile giant. However, CEO Larry Page at least deserves credit for having the humbleness to walk away from a losing gamble.  As the old gambler saying goes, "You have to know when to hold them, know when to fold them, know when to walk away, know when to run."

Google is running away from Motorola Mobility, and that may be good news for everyone involved.

Source: Google

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By flyingpants1 on 1/29/2014 7:35:31 PM , Rating: 1
What the hell? :( Why couldn't they at least make one good flagship phone as MotoGoogle? This is ridiculous.

RE: Why
By Reclaimer77 on 1/30/2014 12:36:58 AM , Rating: 5
They did, but people don't grasp smartphone technology that well.

The Moto X was a flagship in every sense. At the time of release it beat every current phone BADLY in performance benchmarks. It boasted a unique flash file system, giving it I/O performance other smartphones could only dream about. It had truly unique features that were actually useful and intuitive. It had/has one of the best calibrated displays out there.

But omg, it wasn't 1080p so it was "crap". Even though half the people pointing that out have no problem with the iPhone not even hitting 720p like ever, and that's considered a flagship.

It's not always clear why great phones like the Moto X and HTC One go under-appreciated though.

RE: Why
By Samus on 1/30/2014 1:18:20 AM , Rating: 2
It's not always clear why great phones like the Moto X and HTC One go under-appreciated though.

So true :(

Look at the HP Veer and Pre 3. Sometimes phones are just too ahead of their time to be accepted. The iPhone is always trending on the safe side, so it is successful, because it subtly changes.

RE: Why
By flyingpants1 on 1/30/2014 1:49:37 AM , Rating: 2
I think if HTC released this in the USA, they actually would have had a fighting chance against Samsung:

A 5" HTC One with MicroSD and a 3200mAh battery, along with the wonderful front speakers, LCD and Ultrapixel camera :(

RE: Why
By EasyC on 1/30/2014 7:15:47 AM , Rating: 2
No. I was happy that HTC didn't immediately get caught up in a screen adequacy contest with Samsung. Though the One was just slightly too big for my tastes. The lack of SD card didn't bother me. I never filled the 32GB on my One (and that's with 12GB of music).

RE: Why
By Spuke on 1/30/2014 3:14:14 PM , Rating: 2
If you've had a phone with a 4.5" screen, one with a 5" screen is only gonna be a tiny bit bigger. Most of the screen increase is in losing the bezels. I had a SGN and recently moved to a LG G2. The G2 is 3mm longer, 2mm wider and .5mm thinner. It also weighs less (7g) than the GSN but has a .5" larger screen, and an extra 1150mAh of battery capacity (and battery life is MUCH MUCH MUCH better with the G2). I did not want a noticeably larger phone but wanted a bigger screen. I think the 5.2" size is perfect. So perfect, I ended up selling my Nexus 7 because of it.

RE: Why
By flyingpants1 on 1/30/2014 1:35:13 AM , Rating: 1
The Moto X was a flagship in every sense.

I love the Moto X for it's size, but it was not a flagship phone. It was a mid-range phone with added features, that performed out of its league, and that's fine.

At the time of release it beat every current phone BADLY in performance benchmarks.

Well I don't know about that, a look at the Anandtech review will show you that's not true. It does do extremely well though.

Benchmarks are one thing, but I'm finding it hard to believe the dual-core Snapdragon will age well in the long run.. I'm using an older device now (Gnex) and it's just painful. The Nexus 5 was announced soon after the Moto X was released; for roughly the same money, I'd much rather have the peace of mind that comes with having the latest SoC.

Motorola has been trashed for years because of Motoblur, the original Razr having poor battery life, sub-par camera performance across the board, and Droids being Verizon-only.. In an alternate universe, I would've liked to see some high-end stuff from Motorola, and to see what Google can really do.

RE: Why
By nafhan on 1/30/2014 12:39:33 PM , Rating: 2
It was a mid-range phone with added features, that performed out of its league
That sounds like a roundabout way of calling something high end, to me.

RE: Why
By Wazza1234 on 2/9/2014 4:27:19 PM , Rating: 2
Only if high end was determined purely by performance.

Which it isn't.

RE: Why
By troysavary on 1/30/2014 5:38:47 AM , Rating: 2
How many people have a clue what a file system even is? People know the iPhone. People know Samsung. The "Dude, you're a barista." ad was effective at painting the Galaxy line as the new trendy device. Motorola was viewed as that company that used to make cool flip-phones. Image is very important to people buying flagship phones.

RE: Why
By Tony Swash on 1/30/14, Rating: -1
RE: Why
By troysavary on 1/30/2014 7:23:37 AM , Rating: 2
That is kind of the point I was making. To the average smartphone buyer, the file system used is not even on the radar.

RE: Why
By nafhan on 1/30/2014 12:46:11 PM , Rating: 2
To the average smartphone buyer, the file system used is not even on the radar.
Of course. The thing was the FS made a big performance difference. Even "average" users can notice stuff like files copying faster and improved overall system responsiveness.

RE: Why
By troysavary on 1/30/2014 1:43:27 PM , Rating: 2
But that doesn't matter to sales unless the customer understands the benefit. Apparently, they didn't do a good job communicating those benefits.

RE: Why
By nafhan on 1/30/2014 2:31:34 PM , Rating: 2
I was more making the point that changes like that can improve the user experience, and definitely matter from that perspective. Still, yeah, all the improvements in the world are meaningless to someone who never experiences them.

RE: Why
By CU on 1/30/2014 8:52:33 AM , Rating: 5
I don't think a billion people adopting a technology and downloading apps means people grasp smartphones. It means they can use a dumbed down computer that is less powerfull and less usefull than a labtop or desktop. My small kids and even my grandparents can use a smartphone and download apps, but they in no way grasp what a smartphone can and cannot do.

I also don't think people knowing less is a good think. I cannot stand not knowing how everything works. The fact that phones and tablets don't expose the file system more really makes some things more difficult than it needs to be. What if I want some files on my phone and get them through email, download from cloud, copied from a PC, etc. Now how do I find them without a way to explore the file system. I can use the app that I plan to view the file with, but that doesn't solve the problem of moving or deleting the file only opening the file. I also don't think a DOS prompt looks archaic. It just looks like another way to interface with a computer with advantages and disadvantage just like any other user interface. Your concept of progress is my concept of dumbing down and limiting choice. But, you are an Apple fan, so. :-)

RE: Why
By Tony Swash on 1/30/14, Rating: -1
RE: Why
By CU on 1/30/2014 10:50:39 AM , Rating: 4
I agree the answer to your question does depend on the person and what they find useful or easy to do. I wouldn't consider a the ability to see the file system hierarchy an unnecessary complexity though. People have been using file systems for decodes now and the concept of files in folders directly relates to file cabinets which people have been using for way longer. So, I don't really see the complexity argument there. And I listed in my last post why a way to view the file system would be very useful for moving and deleting files. PC's changed how poeple live and work, but you imply they are to complex.

As for the shooting video example why not go further and just make a small video camera that only shoots, edits, and posts video. Why bother with all the other functions of a smart phone at all. Oh yeah because people want to do more. So, why limit people when you don't need to. If you don't need a feature you don't have to use it. I have never used my phone to record, edit, and post a video online. I don't think it burdens me to have that functionality though.

RE: Why
By troysavary on 2/1/2014 7:11:58 AM , Rating: 2
Last time I checked, they do have devices whose only job is to shoot video.

RE: Why
By nafhan on 1/30/2014 1:03:13 PM , Rating: 2
For example, hundreds of millions of people can shoot and edit video, and then distribute the video world wide using a small devices they carry in their pocket. And with out ever interacting with a file system. That’s progress.
I'd say it's progress in a technological sense, but your example is terrible. Even on PC's (including Macs), I don't think content creators tend to spend much time messing with the file system (if any). Also, the point of adding a better FS is to improve end user experience, not so people can dig down and happily experience it the block level or something.

I think it's great that more people have easier access to information. That's progress, and again it's great. Millions of people creating horrible content that no one wants... not as great (despite what Apple commercials would have you believe). There are a small number of people who might get their start on these devices, but they will move on as soon as they have the opportunity to do so.

And to answer your question about which machine is more useful. It's the one that best fits your purpose. For someone making a living at something, that's often going to be the machine (or software) that's more complicated and more difficult because it has more features. If you can only do the same stuff anyone else can easily do, no one is going to pay you for it!

RE: Why
By sorry dog on 1/31/2014 10:36:19 AM , Rating: 2
It just looks like another way to interface with a computer with advantages and disadvantage just like any other user interface. Your concept of progress is my concept of dumbing down and limiting choice.


This statement perfectly captures my frustration with using IOS or Android phones.

RE: Why
By elleehswon on 1/30/2014 9:46:34 PM , Rating: 1
all volatile data lives on a filesystem.

RE: Why
By bug77 on 1/30/2014 6:30:15 AM , Rating: 2
That "unique flash file system" is still experimental in the latest Linux kernel. Ever wondered why Samsung isn't using it yet?

RE: Why
By EasyC on 1/30/2014 7:18:25 AM , Rating: 2
Because it would affect their bottom line? Just a thought...

Now I'm off to google how many people have issues with the file system on moto x's...

RE: Why
By nafhan on 1/30/2014 1:16:05 PM , Rating: 2
I actually have wondered that. Especially since I haven't heard of any issues related to F2FS (lately), and Samsung employees the guy who wrote it. If you have any info, please share!

Also, I think "experimental in the Linux kernel" is usually a step taken before being non-experimental. I'd consider that more an indicator that this is very new tech than a specific stability concern.

RE: Why
By bug77 on 1/31/2014 4:15:24 AM , Rating: 2
Stuff is not declared stable when people hear about no complaints. It's declared stable after it's been thoroughly tested. Samsung holding off from using their own creation leads me to believe there's still work to be done. And remember, an error in the file system may not always mean corrupted data. If it's a read error it can have symptoms very similar to memory corruption (e.g. application crashes). Thus, it would be difficult for regular users experiencing problems to identify them as such.

RE: Why
By nafhan on 1/31/2014 11:54:05 AM , Rating: 2
Understood. It's also important to remember the Linux kernel is used outside of smartphones and consumer devices. For instance, testing that's good enough for smart phones might not be adequate for high speed trading systems. From what I've seen, I'd put F2FS at the "good enough for smartphones" level, although I'd probably keep OS files on a separate file system, just to be safe.

I'd be very willing to increase IO performance on my smartphone at the expense of a very slight risk of data corruption/crashes; as it's generally a device that gets data pushed to it - not the other way around.

RE: Why
By Reclaimer77 on 1/31/2014 1:12:39 PM , Rating: 2
I'm pretty sure if the Moto X had an "unstable" file system, we would be hearing about it by now.

There's conjecture and then there's just wild speculation. Guess which yours is?

Samsung holding off from using their own creation leads me to believe there's still work to be done.

Based on what? Where's the proof?

RE: Why
By bug77 on 1/31/2014 7:04:07 PM , Rating: 2
I just told you what I believe. That I'm not sure F2FS is to be regarded as an advantage just yet.

RE: Why
By troysavary on 2/1/2014 7:24:58 AM , Rating: 2
Relax, nobody was trashing the file system. They just said that some companies were waiting further validation. Don't take every comment about Adroid so personally. Did you code Android? No, so why so defensive?

RE: Why
By Reclaimer77 on 2/1/2014 8:57:53 AM , Rating: 2
What are you talking about? I'm not taking anything personally.

Bug is saying that because everyone isn't using the file system, something must be wrong with it or it's not ready for prime time. Hey that's okay, but where's the proof or even some evidence? If people were having their phones storage corrupted left and right, it should be easy to find that with a web search.

This is a tech blog Troy, need I remind you? I don't understand why you would have an issue with someone who recognizes a clear technological advantage. I think every phone, regardless of OS, should be using this file system or one like it. I/O performance is an area where smartphones need a major improvement.

This thing between me and you, you're going to have to get over it. Are you seriously going to post this silliness every time I make a comment?

RE: Why
By bug77 on 2/1/2014 10:17:28 AM , Rating: 2
Bug is saying that because everyone isn't using the file system, something must be wrong with it or it's not ready for prime time.

Hey, I only said it hasn't been QAed properly yet and that I don't know why Samsung isn't using already if they thing it's ready for prime time, that's all.

RE: Why
By BSMonitor on 1/30/2014 10:04:12 AM , Rating: 2
This is where you fail to appreciate the business strategy Apple uses. For better or worse. Most people ARE sheep buying technology. Droid has sooo many flavors for flagships, these people are easily confused or don't care to spend the time to differentiate.

When you buy Apple, the brand iPhone is obvious. The flavors of the droid flagships are not so obvious. Again, to those people.

Lenovo actually is a good fit for Motorola. Lenovo has a HUGE presence in China. Lenovo still has a huge presence in the PC space. Perhaps we will see some more convergence between Droid devices and the Windows world. Like we see with Windows tablets/phones/PCs.

RE: Why
By BSMonitor on 1/30/2014 10:09:26 AM , Rating: 2

Ahhh. There it is.

Lenovo lends a lot of credibility to the Droid platform as something other than just a "better/open" Apple phone brand.

RE: Why
By Tony Swash on 1/30/2014 12:13:30 PM , Rating: 2
Most people ARE sheep buying technology.

No. Most people make sensible decisions on what technology to buy based on what is the best and the surest way to get the best tool to do what they want. Generally the buying decisions of people are pretty rational. They want as much quality as they can get for the price they can afford, they want to buy things that are reliable and well made (hence brand reputation is important), they want to be able to interact with and get support from the suppliers of the things they buy (if they need advice or if there is a problem), they want to buy things that will retain value, they want to buy things that work well with other things and which come with connections to the most add ons (ecosystems matter) and in the case of mobile devices they want to know that their choice of device will not be rendered out of date or obsolete too quickly (OS updates matter).

The success of Apple is not difficult to understand but it is based on a model that few tech companies actually follow. The Apple strategy is actually very simple: make a few products in a simple and easily understood product mix matrix, focus great efforts on ensuring those product deliver the best possible experience to the end user, embed those products in an integrated and very rich ecosystem and support structure, sell those products at a profit.

RE: Why
By retrospooty on 1/30/14, Rating: 0
RE: Why
By Wazza1234 on 2/9/2014 4:33:12 PM , Rating: 2
Or, it may be the best product for the techies.

RE: Why
By troysavary on 1/30/2014 1:48:07 PM , Rating: 4
No, no. Don't be inserting logic into the discussion. That can't be why they sell. Apple users are gay, or at least metrosexual, and buy based on fruity fashion concerns. Everyone KNOWS that.

RE: Why
By nafhan on 1/30/2014 2:41:25 PM , Rating: 2
Most people make sensible decisions on what technology to buy based on what is the best and the surest way to get the best tool to do what they want.
Most people, in my experience, are almost incredibly under-informed, and I think you'd be hard pressed to see a difference in buying decisions between a "sheep" and someone who makes the best decision based on extremely limited info (i.e. "my sister has one and it seems nice").

RE: Why
By kmmatney on 1/30/2014 1:03:22 PM , Rating: 2
I didn't get an HTC phone as my wife had an HTC "flagship" phone a few years back, and it sucked (depsite it being an "iphone killer"). We weren't ready to trust HTC just yet. I passed on the MotoX because of all the issues we had at my work with the old RAZR phones. Putting put a crap product will hurt you. Anyways, they really should have made more of a push to Brand the MotoX as a "Google" phone, and given it external storage.

RE: Why
By unimatrix725 on 1/30/2014 1:09:53 PM , Rating: 2
Locked BootLoader is why! Moto made a "End User Shaft Move", just like Sony! Do you think I will ever buy another Sony product after the OtherOS Scandal? No! Do you think I will buy another Moto brand after keeping the bootloaders locked? No! I was promised ICS on my Droid X2, never happened. So I moved on to Samsung (SGS3), I made every attempt possible with Motorola. I might if Lenovo would unlock the hardware. I probably will not. I cant stand what American companies are doing. IBM, Budweiser, and now Moto have all sold out to foreigners. I guess thats the new American way... In the 90s it was trading our souls for credit since we have no more credit....

RE: Why
By Cheesew1z69 on 1/30/2014 9:53:04 PM , Rating: 1
I was promised ICS on my Droid X2, never happened.
No, you weren't.

RE: Why
By retrospooty on 1/30/2014 11:42:20 PM , Rating: 2
Just breath man... Everything is going to be ok.

RE: Why
By Spuke on 1/30/2014 3:18:15 PM , Rating: 1
Even though half the people pointing that out have no problem with the iPhone not even hitting 720p like ever, and that's considered a flagship.
I have no ides why the iPhone is perfectly acceptable with the low rez screen but the plain awesome Moto X isn't. The Moto X is a clearly better phone. I wanted a HTC One but the G2 won out on battery life.

RE: Why
By TSS on 1/30/2014 5:56:39 PM , Rating: 2
It's not always clear why great phones like the Moto X and HTC One go under-appreciated though.


Unless you've got an advertisement budget the size of either Apple or Samsung, along with an installed fanbase that'll regurgitate anything your company says without caring about facts, you're not going to make it in today's day and age.

Great time to be alive though if you're studying herd dynamics/group behaviour.

RE: Why
By Mint on 1/31/2014 3:37:55 AM , Rating: 2
It's not always clear why great phones like the Moto X and HTC One go under-appreciated though.

This shows how brutal it is to be an Android phonemaker. HTC and Motorola made very good phones and continue to do so, but have been struggling rather badly when considering how much marketshare they used to have.

This is why Nokia went with Windows Phone. If they didn't cling to Symbian for so long, they could have made a splash in Android early on, but by 2011 it was too late and having 0% Android share at that point would resign them to being a bit player for ages.

WP hasn't grown as fast as Nokia wanted, but at least they had differentiation and MS's marketing muscle. It's understandable why they steered clear of the Android jungle.

RE: Why
By Reclaimer77 on 1/31/2014 10:33:37 AM , Rating: 1
Ummm okay. Who said anything about Nokia though?

I don't think Nokia's products are all that great. Windows Phone users just have lower expectations. When you're paying $90 for a smartphone, you don't expect much from it. Aside from the dirt-cheap 520 line, Nokia hasn't had a true success yet. The Moto X and HTC One are sales giants compared to Nokia's flagships.

It's understandable why they steered clear of the Android jungle.

Because Microsoft paid them not to? I mean lets be honest here. We've known for a while that Nokia has wanted to make Android handsets for some time. It's no mystery why they didn't, with Microsoft all but running the phone division and eventually buying it.

But it's fine. It's not like we're all clamoring for Nokia to join the 'jungle' of Android anyway. I certainly wouldn't buy an Android phone from a known patent troll who's used every dirty trick against HTC and the others anyway.

RE: Why
By troysavary on 2/1/2014 7:19:13 AM , Rating: 2
Samsung did more to hurt HTC than Nokia did. Where is your sputtering outrage when it is one of your preciouses playing the part of the "bad guy"?

RE: Why
By Reclaimer77 on 2/1/14, Rating: 0
RE: Why
By Kazinji on 2/1/2014 7:11:31 AM , Rating: 2
Feels like google is making a mistake selling it off. Can't be the big gun in a short time. And it's not a position they should be in anyways. Windows makes it own tablets but that makes other makers shy away from making windows tablets. But they have the mentality that its go big or go home. Google having a phone arm just goes to show that they can make phone also. And do what they always do, push things to new heights. And this will tickle down to other makers. And improve android phones overall. The setup for moto should of been on a smaller scale of sales. Enough to show that they can do it but not enough to put other makers off to much.

I like this...
By retrospooty on 1/29/2014 8:33:03 PM , Rating: 2
If Lenovo can do even 1/2 what it did with the Thinkpads when they bought it from IBM this will make some really good stuff. Plus it gives them a foothold in the US smartphone market.

RE: I like this...
By EasyC on 1/30/14, Rating: 0
RE: I like this...
By retrospooty on 1/30/2014 7:27:08 AM , Rating: 2
What model?

I have never seen anyone say that about Thinkpads. They are the highest rated quality laptops of any brand, Apple included, year after year. Lenovo didn't just keep IBM's quality, they improved upon it.

RE: I like this...
By troysavary on 1/30/2014 8:37:34 AM , Rating: 2
Sounds more like faulty headphones than the jack. Nothing that has current actually travelling through it should be coming into direct contact with your skin unless there is a short in the headphones.

RE: I like this...
By retrospooty on 1/30/2014 11:00:13 AM , Rating: 3
Ya, 7 laptops in a year for the best quality brand in the business? I think its a user issue not a laptop issue.

I personally bought and deployed over 300 Lenovo laptops over a 3 year period for may last job. From T400 and T500 to T420 and T520

In all that time, other than hard drive and a few physical abuse/broken screens, there were only 2 actual hardware failures... Out of well over 300 units. Absolutely amazing.

RE: I like this...
By EasyC on 1/30/14, Rating: 0
RE: I like this...
By retrospooty on 1/30/2014 12:43:47 PM , Rating: 3
Did you spill something? ;)

I don't know what happened, but your experience is an anomaly. Lenovo thinkpads are year after year rated the highest in the business with the fewest hardware failures. My experience above with 2 failures out of 300 matches what consumer reports, customer reviews and the RLA's accounting (reverse logistics association). Yours seems almost unreal.

RE: I like this...
By troysavary on 1/30/2014 1:52:11 PM , Rating: 2
It should not be possible to zap your ear with a headset unless the headset is faulty.

RE: I like this...
By ven1ger on 1/30/2014 3:11:51 PM , Rating: 2
Kind of wondering if he's getting zapped with a headset, if the headset may be causing the problems with the laptops that keep failing on him. If the headset is shorting somewhere it could also be shorting the laptops he's been using.

RE: I like this...
By Spuke on 1/30/2014 3:21:56 PM , Rating: 2
I think he's FOS.

RE: I like this...
By retrospooty on 1/30/2014 4:58:53 PM , Rating: 2
Something isn't right there... Not even low end Dell's are that bad to have 7 bad ones in a 1 year period.

RE: I like this...
By troysavary on 1/30/2014 5:05:16 PM , Rating: 2
It's like the PS fanboys who were posting the fake reviews on Amazon for the Xbox One. They read about the grinding Blu-Ray issue, then suddenly had 3 or 4 fail on them within a week of launch, all conveniently bought somewhere other than Amazon to explain the lack of Verified Purchaser status. At least make the lie believable.

RE: I like this...
By Reclaimer77 on 1/31/2014 10:38:02 AM , Rating: 1
7 in a year and a mysterious ear-zapping headphone jack? That's not even possible. Even if the jack was putting out 240v@60amps somehow, the headphones are double-insulated! Current can't just travel up insulating materials and "zap" your ear, dumbass.

I think you're full of shit and just making all this up. What do you think about that?

By fic2 on 1/29/2014 6:24:55 PM , Rating: 2
Hmmm, Google paid ~$811k/patent vs MS/Apple paying ~$717k (assuming my 0s were in the correct place). And, AFAIK, most companies pay the employee who actually thought up the patent $1k.

RE: Hmmm
By mckinney on 1/29/2014 7:13:36 PM , Rating: 2
You forgot to include BlackBerry, Ericsson, and Sony. So the $$ per patent is divided by 5, assuming they all paid the same percentage.

RE: Hmmm
By Belegost on 1/29/2014 8:03:59 PM , Rating: 2
I've gotten a whopping $750 for each of the patents I've filed with my company.

RE: Hmmm
By lagomorpha on 1/30/2014 8:53:06 AM , Rating: 2
You did a lot better than the guy that thought up the nuclear airplane, nuclear rocket, and a type of nuclear power plant...

RE: Hmmm
By kmmatney on 1/30/2014 1:24:19 PM , Rating: 2
I got a copy cup for one, and nothing for the other 2. I was a co-author on all of them, but played a major role.

RE: Hmmm
By tayb on 1/29/2014 10:36:32 PM , Rating: 2
That was a consortium of 5 companies which means each individual company paid ~$143k assuming your math is correct.

By room200 on 1/29/2014 6:49:16 PM , Rating: 4
They're not taking a loss on anything. the only reason they bought Motorola was for the patents. They hoodwinked everyone with this "Made In America" campaign when they knew this was the plan all along. Another American company sold to the Chinese.

RE: Wrong
By MozeeToby on 1/30/2014 12:43:36 PM , Rating: 1
The patents didn't even cost nearly as much as the $7 billion in the headline. Google is retaining Moto's cash on hand (~3 billion), they also managed a bunch of tax write offs and breaks as part of the deals (~2.5 billion), and they sold the manufacturing and factory division a while back for a bit over $100 million.

Accurate estimates put the cost of the patent portfolio (which was the target all along, whether they intended to sell off the company from the beginning or not).

RE: Wrong
By purerice on 1/31/2014 4:16:21 AM , Rating: 2
Somebody who doesn't get economics voted you down.
Google got:
2 businesses to sell (this is the 2nd)
loss carry forwards

At the end of the day will have a paper loss for accounting purposes but a cash gain. Pundits, bloggers, and trolls will gleefully bask in schadenfreude of Google losing billions when actually the probably profited a billion or two.

By Tony Swash on 1/30/2014 2:04:55 PM , Rating: 2
For a while, with Google's Motorola acquisition and Microsoft's Nokia acquisition it looked like all the big players were going for a vertically integrated model. Now Google has stepped back from that model and instead (it seems) gone for a closer alliance with Samsung and sold Motorola as a necessary step in achieving that closer relationship. What does this say about the Microsoft-Nokia deal?

By troysavary on 1/30/2014 5:06:42 PM , Rating: 2
Umm, absolutely nothing?

By Tony Swash on 1/31/2014 5:35:16 AM , Rating: 2
Thinking about it more and reading pieces like this

It's become clearer that Google still wants to be in the hardware business, and therefore the vertically integrated business, but the failing Motorola division was not delivering. Instead they bought the Nest team and dumped Motorola. The Nest team will form the core of the new hardware team at Motorola.

Google just wants to be a service company
By w8gaming on 1/29/2014 9:03:28 PM , Rating: 2
It has been obvious ever since Motorala never really tried to compete seriously with other Android vendors under Google control. Unlike Microsoft who is having a split personality business strategy, Google decides to just offer services and let other vendors run the hardware business. It is the OLD Microsoft strategy. But then again, when a company is in control of 80% of the market, I suppose a company can afford to do this. This, actually is not a good news for Microsoft.

By troysavary on 1/30/2014 8:39:41 AM , Rating: 2
How does this news affect MS?

By Heidfirst on 1/30/2014 1:47:00 AM , Rating: 2
Google will just offset the losses against profits/tax - it probably won't cost them anything at all & they'll have picked up thousands of patents ...

Wrong numbers
By A11 on 1/30/2014 6:44:18 AM , Rating: 2
Jason you forget moto had $3B in cash when Google acquired it and they also sold the set top box division for $2.3B so they haven't paid nearly as much for the patents as you speculate.

I've seen the figure $2B mentioned and if that's true then google clearly made one hell of a deal.

Hey Mick....
By sorry dog on 1/31/2014 10:53:00 AM , Rating: 2
Given the extra $1.9B USD Google lost from ongoing business running Motorola the deal becomes a bit worse in retrospect.

You can't really make that statement without a whole lot more information. Mergers and Acquisitions is a whole nother can of worms of finance and accounting, and you can't apply some simple math to evaluate the deal. For example, this 1.9B loss may not be an actual cash loss and may include large write off like restructuring costs, depreciation, and goodwill impairment. Then this large loss can be used a forward tax credit which would be quite valuable to a company like Google with large positive cash flows to reduce their tax liabilities. Also, even if this reported loss did have a large current asset component, it's likely that a large piece of it was rolled in longer term liabilities or transferred into the balance sheet. So when Lenovo buys the unit, they are buying the assets and liabilities that capture that recent financial performance.

Another potential positive aspect of the deal for Google is that they can depreciate the value of patents, so now they have 10 billion worth of patents that they can write off on future taxes. When you consider that, the cost of the deal will look quite different from you have assumed in your article.

That makes sense of the Samsung Google deal
By Tony Swash on 1/29/14, Rating: 0
RE: That makes sense of the Samsung Google deal
By JasonMick on 1/29/2014 6:26:33 PM , Rating: 1

That makes sense of the Samsung Google patent deal. I was wondering how such a deal, obviously implying a high degree of collaboration going forward, could be done if Google was simultaneously a competitor to Samsung.
Yea, except I don't think Samsung was exactly afraid of Motorola. Even with a bad quarter for GS4 sales, it still outsold Motorola's flagship device an estimated 20-to-1, according to analysts.

As for this:
Well now it isn’t and the Google and Samsung (whose Tizen project seems to have foundered) can snuggle up together.
Ummm, last I heard Samsung is planning to unveil Tizen devices at MWC, it's just not launch in Japan as expected.

Feel free to celebrate -- Google did make a bit of a dumb play here -- but your conclusions are exaggerations and inaccuracies, from what the rest of the world currently knows. Try again.

By JasonMick on 1/29/2014 6:33:09 PM , Rating: 2
*outsold Motorola's flagship device by an estimated
*it's just not going to be be launched in Japan


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RE: That makes sense of the Samsung Google deal
By Tony Swash on 1/29/14, Rating: -1
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