Google announced this morning plans to acquire Motorola Mobility. The price: $12.5 billion - the company's biggest-ever acquisition by far.
CEO Larry Page made the announcement on the Official Google Blog:
Motorola has a history of over 80 years of innovation in communications technology and products, and in the development of intellectual property, which have helped drive the remarkable revolution in mobile computing we are all enjoying today. Its many industry milestones include the introduction of the world’s first portable cell phone nearly 30 years ago, and the StarTAC—the smallest and lightest phone on earth at time of launch. In 2007, Motorola was a founding member of the Open Handset Alliance that worked to make Android the first truly open and comprehensive platform for mobile devices. I have loved my Motorola phones from the StarTAC era up to the current DROIDs.
In 2008, Motorola bet big on Android as the sole operating system across all of its smartphone devices. It was a smart bet and we’re thrilled at the success they’ve achieved so far. We believe that their mobile business is on an upward trajectory and poised for explosive growth.
Motorola is also a market leader in the home devices and video solutions business. With the transition to Internet Protocol, we are excited to work together with Motorola and the industry to support our partners and cooperate with them to accelerate innovation in this space.
Motorola’s total commitment to Android in mobile devices is one of many reasons that there is a natural fit between our two companies. Together, we will create amazing user experiences that supercharge the entire Android ecosystem for the benefit of consumers, partners and developers everywhere.
Page says Google will run Motorola as a separate business, and it will not affect Android as an "open platform". Motorola will remain a licensee of Android.
He also brought up the company's recent, highly-publicized blog post about companies "including Microsoft and Apple" are "banding together in anti-competitive patent attacks on Android." The Motorola acquisition, he says, will help Google "better protect Android from anti-competitive threats from Microsoft, Apple and other companies."
Google is getting nearly 25,000 patents from the deal (7,500 of them are pending).
Microsoft has also sued Motorola over alleged patent infringements. The company should feel right at home with Google.
It's also worth noting that Motorola has been involved in patent disputes with RIM, apparently settled last year.
The acquisition has already been approved by the boards of directors of both Google and Motorola. Of course it must receive regulatory approval in the U.S and Europe. Google expects the deal to be done by the end of the year or early next year.
Here are some more quotes from the press release:
Page: “Motorola Mobility’s total commitment to Android has created a natural fit for our two companies. Together, we will create amazing user experiences that supercharge the entire Android ecosystem for the benefit of consumers, partners and developers. I look forward to welcoming Motorolans to our family of Googlers.”
Motorola Mobility CEO Sanjay Jha: “This transaction offers significant value for Motorola Mobility’s stockholders and provides compelling new opportunities for our employees, customers, and partners around the world. 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.”
Andy Rubin, SVP of Mobile at Google: “We expect that this combination will enable us to break new ground for the Android ecosystem. 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.”
So add that to the list of industries Google is to compete in. In the tech world, it seems there are fewer and fewer out there that Google doesn't have some kind of presence in. This is very interesting timing, considering that the FTC is currently investigating Google's business practices, with its web search and Android businesses being specifically named as key areas under scrutiny.
Motorola currently offers the following Android Smartphones:
- Droid 3
- Droid X2
- Photon 4G
- Atrix 4G
- Cliq 2
- Global by Motorola
- Droid 2 Global
- Droid Pro
- Droid X
- Cliq XT
They also offer the Motorola Xoom Android tablet.