Poll: What does Google buying Motorola mean for Apple?

Holy heck! Waking up to the news of Google buying Motorola Mobility just shows you how fast our industry is moving and changing. But what does it mean for Apple, iPhone and iPad? Will Google really continue to run Motorola "as is" without much change, and Droids and Xooms will just come out again as they came out before? Or will Google start to copy the Apple model more and give Motorola exclusive Nexus handsets with much better, and even more competitive integration? Or will HTC, Samsung, and other Android OEMs feel screwed by this whole deal and start looking more seriously at Windows Phone or maybe even webOS, resulting in less choice for consumers on the Android side?

What do you think, TiPb Nation? Will Motorola for one welcome their new overlords and remain status quo, or is this the beginning of a new galactic order when it comes to iPhone and iPad competition? Vote in the poll above and give me your analysis in the comments below!

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


Senior Editor at iMore and a practicing therapist specializing in stress and anxiety. She speaks everywhere from conferences to corporations, co-host of Vector, Review, and Isometric podcasts, and should be followed on Twitter @Georgia_Dow.

More Posts



← Previously

Mobile Nations Monday Brief: August 15, 2011

Next up →

Daily Deal: 60% off OtterBox Defender Series Case for AT&T/GSM iPhone 4

Reader comments

Poll: What does Google buying Motorola mean for Apple?


I think the only people that should be scared are the workers at HTC and Samsung. Give it a couple years and Google will have apple's strategy mimicked.

Thats one way this could go. There rare really only two endgames that can see coming from this deal in the long term.
1) Google lets Motorola (Which has been in the red quarter after quarter and is one of the Android's worst producers) die the slow death it was always going to, while keeping the patents as it's reward.
2) They inject more money and, by sheer necessity, preferential treatment is given to give themselves a "leg up" over their new found competition.
I think the former is far more likely than the later. They've been very upfront about the fact that this was primarily about the patents, and I'm sure they've given some sort of back room assurances to the other oems that this will help them protect the "openness" of the platform.
One things for sure, things will be a very interesting for the next couple of years in this space.
Side note: Yet another reason why my eyes glaze over whenever i see the words: Analyst predicts X in 2015.

Agreed that a version of #1 seems the most likely outcome. Unless Google has gotten some Apple-style vertical integration religion and largely closes off Android, there is no way Motorola's Android business is going to be worth antagonizing the rest of the Android manufacturers. I doubt they will kill Motorola's cel business totally, but they have a very fine line to walk here.

Maybe Motorola will stop building devices that when you look at them, they make you puke now?

This is to battle Apple and others who are attacking Android with stupid patent lawsuits. Nothing more.

Well to an extend this will make other manufacturers move toward Windows. Think about it I'm Samsung, I use Android, you just bought a hardware manufacturer what does that tell me. I need to be careful, now Google's Nexus phones will be handled by Motorola, there will be a level of favoritism toward Motorola devices, etc.

Um, no. Isn't WP actually losing market share? This will not push oems away from Android. Google wouldn't mess with the magic they have going right now, no favoritism, moto is still just 1 manufacturer.

That's silly for a few reasons:
1.) WP7 isn't gaining, it's losing. Why would you leave the OS that is brining you cash in order to get on board with an OS that is disappearing slowly? Makes no sense any way you look at it.
2.) Let's say Google did start making phones. Do you honestly think it's going to affect anything? It will be just like the Nexus phones. The geeks and random folks will buy them. Samsung will keep selling. HTC will keep making profits. The world will keep turning.
This will do nothing but give Google patents they wanted at a cheap price and give them, probably, a concrete Nexus maker.
I mean, everyone already says stock Android is ugly. So why would everyone flock to buy an "ugly" device? Other OEMs have no worries whatsoever.

The germ of a legitimate complaint here is if Google starts giving Moto phones early or preferential access to Android features. It is one thing to come out with an occasional Nexus X, or to pick a partner -- ironically, Motorola -- to debut the first Honeycomb tablet, and work more closely with them to get that first product out the door. It is quite another to mass produce devices that compete against your partners.
Samsung, HTC, and Sony are all saying they like the acquisition right now, but, if Google were to start giving the Moto division any information that consistently gave them a leg up over other Android makers in the market, those other makers would have a legitimate reason to kvetch and/or jump ship. Google's upcoming behavior will be an acid test for exactly how open Android really is.

Moto is already copying Apple and still losing big time. Google can't help much if it really wants to compete.
More likely, it just wants to keep copying with defensive patents, but most ODMs will flee if they know what's good for them.
Maybe Google buying Samsung & Moto might cause Steve some concerns.
Yeah, Steve Jobs was scared alright, all the while adding $6-10B per quarter to the already bulging treasury chest of theirs. Ha!

How is Motorola copying Apple? Details please. Moto was making phones while Apple was barely making computers. Now you want to talk fear, I suspect when Google tells Apple they can't use ________ technology because it's a Moto patented property, unless of course you cough up $$$, these comments on this blog will go from rage to fear & all moods in between real quick.

honestly it would depend how Google moves forward. Motorolla hasn't been relevant in the space since the StarTac so it's not like they bought a topping the charts company like Apple. Now with Android running on Motorolla phones and Google in charge of the phones if they make it more iPhone like in the way they run it like only 1-3 models with consistent specs and pushing OS updates quickly and independent of the carriers it will give them a huge boost. It will give the iPhone a run for their money and the consumer will benefit with better features and better prices. However what does that mean for the OEMs? The thing I take away from it is how Google was talking about other companies using patents to sue instead of innovating and now BAM they now hold the most mobile patents hmmmm wonder how their tune will change when the first law suit goes out?

The Razr was pretty big dude, give them that. I saw someone rocking one at a party just this past weekend.

Congratulations on a silly statement... You say Moto has not been relevant since the Startac? How about the Razr? Oh & the Droid, both sold well into the multiple millions. But hey you got your opinion & unfortunately there are facts that get in the way.

That's one way it could play out. The other way is that Google allows the Motorola Mobility patents to be applied to any manufacturer using Android.

I don't think this will change competition or the amount of devices. Everyone must remember, Google does not actually sell anything; they sell ads. So them buying Moto isn't like rolling that into the fictional Google Hardware Business and slapping the Moto logo on the devices.
I say desperate because this strikes me as a Microsoft like move. IMO they threw a wad of cash at Moto just because they could, to get patents. In that respect this could be very complex. What will they do with these patents? Also, aren't there pending cases against Moto (v. Microsoft?) which could change that dynamic as well.
This battle gets more entertaining by the minute.
Should we start a pool? Who buys who next to up the ante in this arms race?

It is no more desperate than the Rockstar (Apple/MS) purchase of the Nortel patents just to keep them out of Google's hands.
And that is the problem -- Apple's group wastes 4.5 billion to buy patents so "valuable" that the company holding them went bankrupt. Google then throws 12 billion at a company they (likely) otherwise would not have any interest in buying. In both cases, companies are tossing good money at assets that have little value other than in a legal pissing match. I don't know about you, but I'd rather have Apple spend that 2 billion on advancing its radio design, or Google spend some of that 12 on design talent. But they can't, because the game is rigged so they have to hold billions in reserve against these threats. Patent wars sap the resources of all sides, to no apparent benefit.
The next round in this arms race is InterDigital [link], and investors have been counting on an expensive battle between Apple and Google for its 18,000 patents. InterDigital stock is down over 20% this morning after Google/Motorola; you can draw your own conclusions as to the skewed weight patent chests themselves, rather than the underlying innovations, are given.

Good move by Google. Who knows maybe my next phone will be Google Motorola phone. I am not married to the iPhone/iOS.

I don't think this means much at all. The reality is, that Apple has a several year lead in hitting the ball right to where the public is standing.... and the public has caught it, each and every time. When you are so on target with manufacturing products that everybody wants, like Apple has been for the last several years. It's going to take a whole lot a catching up, to even be in the same ball game.
So, the fact that Google has now purchased Motorola, really doesn't mean a whole heck of a lot. Even so, they'll need to create so many unbelievably great products, in such a very short time and sell them at a price that's so unbelievably cheap, just to get people to even consider trying something new or different, that I just don't see it happening in any way that hurts Apple for many years to come. That's just how far ahead in the game, Apple is in my opinion.

Google had to do something, and this is a surprising and potentially very smart move on their part. Lawyers will keep making money hand over fist, not doubt, but Google made a big move to support Android. They are also now in the hardware business, and that should be interesting to watch. Personally I am hoping this drives competition, pushing Apple.

Google is about to make some really good phones. But they will still have the crappy OS on them. The only reason that I would consider an Android phone is because of hardware and the ability to send any person in my contacts directly to voicemail. That's it. The OS is still super buggy like a beta. I've tried every major android phone on every major US carrier in an attempt to give them a real chance. It's not even close to the smoothness of iOS. It's still a good move for Google. It just really shows you who they're watching. They know that nobody does it like Steve Jobs. So they are doing it like Steve Jobs! I can't really hate on them for wanting to make sure that quality is kept to a certain level on Android phones. If you want something done well then you do it yourself. Smart. This really won't hurt companies with their own following like HTC who has built a cult following with their Sense interfaces. At first! But they will eventually fall so far behind Motorola because Moto won't have to throw anything on top of their releases. They will drop new OS versions faster than ALL the other manufacturers and some of their phones won't get new versions at all. Google says that they are cutting down on fragmentation but I don't see how this could do anything but make it worse. HTC better make a deal with Microsoft. It's gonna get a little ugly once their customers realize that having Sense isn't worth being 3 updates behind Motos customers.

Ladies & gentlemen... I present the richest mobile phone buyer ever! He/she says I've tried every major Android phone on every major carrier.... Yeah sure you have

That's terrible logic, SockRolid. I don't see any of the "fandroids" as having flip-flopped. They're just saying that given the current system, Google/Android might very well be on better footing with the acquisition of Motorola's library of patents and history. They're in a position to defend themselves in this messed up environment, whether it be defensively or with the potential offensive use of the patents.
I know that I still think the patent system is totally screwed in some respects.
Nobody's flip-flopped, despite your assertions.

Sure it can be used now, it just applies to Google as well if they continue to use Foxconn. If we are to take it as fact that Apple using Foxconn is "evil", then so is Google for continuing to use Foxconn to supply Motorola (if they don't change suppliers).

All the Android/Google fanboi's patting themselves on the back are making a big assumption - that Apple are breaching $12.5b worth of Motorola patents. But are they?