As the aftermath of Google’s acquisition of Motorola continues to play out, different manufacturers are handling the news in entirely different ways. Samsung has made a commitment to bolstering their software department. They’ve already hired Steve “Cyanogen” Kondik, and rumors of a MIUI partnership are making headlines again. HTC has gone all out in support of the merger, with CEO Peter Chou making several public statements supporting Google’s decision. One smaller manufacturer — INQ — is already thinking about dumping Android and going the Microsoft route.
Om Malik of GigaOm has put up an article today that shows what kind of effect the merger is having on some companies. Frank Meehan, CEO of INQ, has said:
From a group perspective at Hutchison Whampoa, we have worked hard at bringing Android to consumers across our operations. However this year there has been a dramatic increase in the way companies are looking to maximize the potential revenues of IPR (intellectual property) holdings, and the trend for many companies is now to concentrate on litigation rather than innovation. The advantages with Windows Mobile is that the legal issues and resulting costs seem to be much less. It is telling that the Motorola Board decided that they could get more value out of 15-20 year old patents rather than use their huge R&D to create new exciting technologies over the next 10 years which is what Motorola used to do very well.Frank MeehanINQ
Meehan says that since Android is the fastest expanding mobile OS in the market, it has become the biggest target for legal troubles. Microsoft doesn’t face those problems now, although it’s something that could be right around the corner. According to GigaOm, Meehan isn’t alone. Other manufacturers are heavily considering making the switch, but none have been brave enough to go on the record with their thoughts.
Exactly how the acquisition will play a role in the distribution of Android has yet to be seen. As far as on-the-record remarks from Google goes, manufacturers have been promised that nothing is changing, Android is merely better protected now. Apparently, that’s someone like Meehan’s main concern.
Are companies like INQ prematurely jumping ship if they abandon Android now? Considering Android’s market share and phenomenal growth rates, I don’t think many manufacturers would walk away from that kind of momentum. Then again, legal suits can scare companies into making some rather rash decisions. If you were an Android manufacturer, what would you do?