Last year we reported that Motorola might be working on their own operating system when they acquired mobile platform company Azingo and now new reports confirm this is still their strategy. Thomas Claburn of InformationWeek reports that Motorola has gone on a hiring spree and picked up a number of experienced web engineers from Adobe and Apple in an effort to develop their own web-based operating system.
Jonathan Goldberg, an analyst with Deutsche Bank in San Francisco, also reported the same thing. In a phone interview with InformationWeek he said, “I know they’re working on it. I think the company recognizes that they need to differentiate and they need options, just in case. Nobody wants to rely on a single supplier.”
When asked to comment, Motorola did not deny the accusations. Their response was, “Motorola Mobility is committed to Android as an operating system.”
An unnamed person familiar with Motorola’s plans said, “Google is shooting itself in the foot.” Motorola has “concerns about Android fragmentation, product differentiation, and issues related to Google’s support for its partners.”
This news should come with little surprise as Motorola Mobility CEO Sanjay Jha previously hinted that he wanted to create his own operating system. In a Q1 2010 earnings call he said, “I’ve always felt that owning your OS is important, provided you have an ecosystem, you have all the services and you have an ability and the scale to execute on keeping that OS at the leading edge. And I continue to believe that at some point, if we have all of those attributes, that owning our own OS will be a very important thing.”
Just as Motorola is dual-sourcing their components from different hardware vendors, Motorola wants to have a second OS strategy just in case Android does not go the way they want.
Google and Motorola continue to remain close partners, so I don’t think we should have any fear that Motorola will abandon Android, but it is something to keep an eye on.