Wow. Shit just got real.
In what is easily Google’s biggest acquisition in its history, Google today said it will acquire phone hardware maker Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion in cash to help enhance sales of its Android mobile OS. All told, Google payed $40 a share for Motorola Mobility, representing a 63% premium for the company.
Interestingly enough, the acquisition comes just days after Motorola’s CEO explained that the company might explore using their vast patent portfolios to demand royalties from other Android handset makers. Clearly, an Android civil war is the last thing Google wants though it’s clear that Google, through the acquisition, wants to shore up the hardware that runs Android in addition to acquiring Motorola’s voluminous patent portfolio.
On Google’s official blog, Google CEO Larry Page wrote that Motorola’s support of Android and their expertise in churning out popular handsets like the Droid X makes the acquisition a “natural fit” between the two companies. Taking a page out of Apple’s book, Page explained that together the two companies will be able to create “amazing user experiences that supercharge the entire Android ecosystem for the benefit of consumers, partners and developers everywhere.”
Clarifying some of the more obvious questions, Page explained that Android will remain an open platform that that Motorola will continue to license Android as they will run Motorola as a separate business.
We recently explained how companies including Microsoft and Apple are banding together in anti-competitive patent attacks on Android. The U.S. Department of Justice had to intervene in the results of one recent patent auction to “protect competition and innovation in the open source software community” and it is currently looking into the results of the Nortel auction. Our acquisition of Motorola will increase competition by strengthening Google’s patent portfolio, which will enable us to better protect Android from anti-competitive threats from Microsoft, Apple and other companies.
Funny how Google lambasts companies who protect their own intellectual property and accuse companies like Apple and Microsoft of colluding to acquire patent portfolios when Google here is essentially doing the same.
The deal is expected to close by the end of 2011 or by early 2012.