Google closes Motorola acquisition, what does it mean for Apple?

Google closes Motorola acquisition, what does it mean for Apple?

After getting regulatory approval in China, Google today wrapped up its acquisition of Motorola Mobility, signalling their entry into the hardware world. As a part of the deal closing, Motorola's CEO Sanjay Jha has stepped down to make way for Google's Dennis Woodside.

If you've ever peeked your head into our sibling site, Android Central, you might know Motorola basically bet the farm on Android. Given, HTC was the launch partner for Android over three years ago, it wasn't soon thereafter that Motorola gave up Windows Mobile and ditched their dumbphone business to focus exclusively on Android, and arguably helped launch Android into the stratosphere with Verizon's Droid line. However, Motorola gradually lost its financial footing, split the company up into infrastructure and handset businesses, and then, last August, Google announced its intention to acquire Motorola Mobility. Since then, there have been a lot of legal hoops to jump through, but now the deal is done.

So what does this all mean for Apple? Well, Google, traditionally a software and web services company, is moving aggressively into the realm of hardware, where it will compete even more directly with the iPhone and iPad. If you need further proof of that, it's worth noting that Google has also recently picked up the industrial design company that designed the Nexus One, Mike and Maaike.

Before Android launched, rumors swirled about a Google-made "gPhone", but the closest to that Google has ever been are tight partnerships with outside manufacturers to create the Nexus lineup. Now Google have sworn that the bidding process will remain as open as ever. If it doesn't, Google stands to estrange top-tier partners like Samsung, push them right into the arms of Windows Phone, and further fragment Apple's competition into nice bite-sized chunks. That might be why Google has been making noise about having multiple Nexus partners next time around.

It's hard not to be skeptical about Google's success on the device front, however. Their attempts at selling Nexus devices through Google's own online retail storefront haven't done particularly well, and the Chromebook project was an unmitigated flop. Elsewhere, Microsoft's Zune has shown just how dicey it can be for a software specialist to get into the hardware biz. There's something to be said for offering a complete end-to-end solution -- that's Apple's strategy, after all. Then again, it's also RIM's.

If Motorola continues to sink, will Google be able to resist giving them a first-party Android boost? If competition heats up, if companies like Amazon and potentially Facebook field forked versions of Android, would Google never consider going head-to-head with them using more streamlined, unified, and competitive to the iOS hardware, with code linked to the device more tightly than ever? Or will Google be more interested in juggling their manufacturer relationships and keep Samsung, HTC, LG, and other partners happy by not playing favorites?

Source: AndroidCentral

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Simon Sage

Editor-at-very-large at Mobile Nations, gamer, giant.

More Posts



← Previously

Iterate 22: Gesture-based interface

Next up →

How to replace the dock connector in a Verizon or Sprint iPhone 4

Reader comments

Google closes Motorola acquisition, what does it mean for Apple?


I find it hard to believe that Google will buy a phone manufacturer and keep their distance... if that's the case why buy them in the first place? I'm aware of Motorola's patent portfolio, but I doubt Google bought them for the patents alone (if it was a patent purchase, Google should've bought Palm from HP)

I suspect is will mean precisely zero for Apple.
Google is an ad company, not a software or web company and especially not a consumer electronics company. Their ability to make and distribute a high quality, successful phone or tablet or whatever is questionable at best.
Android is only widely adopted because it is carrier friendly and an iOS knockoff. Trying to cut out the carriers is not a friendly move and would be a strategic shift for Android that would change it's position with the carriers.
Honestly, I'm not convinced Android has a very long future. It's barely even an OS, makes almost no money for anybody, and isn't even much of an ad platform. Hopefully it goes away before long.

Yeah because apple doesn't steal ideas or anything. Android looks nothing like ios dumbass maybe touchwiz on Samsung phones but that is a custom skin and not android. Do a little research next time.

obv, its not a knock off but anyone who says that its more stable than iOS is a moron. my wife has a droid and it already lags and the touch screen calibration is trash. IMO iOS and apple has the best product for phones and mobile OS. android is very cluttered and yes android has borrowed a few ideas just like everyone does. android is def low man on totum pole these day and evryone just needed to own one for a while to find this out.

iOS knockoff? lmao funny how ios 5 is a copy of android 2.1 LMAO get your facts straight fan boy iOS looking more like android!!! you put phones side by side ANDROID WILL SKOOL iOS anytime of the day!!!

Re: "...HTC was the launch partner for Android over three years ago..."
Ah nostalgia. And where are they now? Oh, now I remember.
HTC is the world's #2 Android handset vendor. And they're hurting. Bad.
CYQ1 profits were down 70% year-over-year. And some of their new
gear is locked up in customs in Mexico. Hasta la vista, baby.

For someone so intelligent, I struggle to understand the willfull shortsightedness, both past and future, you choose to apply once Android gets brought up.

Here is my take. As many have said, virtually no one is making money on android. Aside from maybe the cell providers and Samsung. At some point, lg, htc, et al will need to make a call. If nokia's fortune turn around with windows phone, I can see them abandoning the android ship. THAT is why google bought Motorola. If need be, can 'save' android buy doing hardware/software. They only bought android because they had the foresight that Facebook didn't. That the world was moving to mobile, and that is eyeballs. As more people rely soley on mobile devices that are potentially locked down in ways desktops/laptops aren't. They had to protect their revenue stream, and that is, like Facebook, eyeballs on ads.

I thoroughly enjoy your take and believe it holds merit. What we don't see, however, is whatever may take place behind the scenes. For all we know, all of the other manufacturers may have made an agreement with Google in order for them to make the final purchase of Motorola Mobility.

It means nothing for apple. All it might do is somewhat change who makes the android competition, but it won't change android.