Is it April’s Fools Day already? No? Good, just checking. Much to our surprise, Google has just made an announcement that is sure to shake up the whole smartphone world. With the goal of protecting and supercharging the whole Android ecosystem, the Mountain View-based company has just announced on its blog that it plans to buy Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion.
The announcement was made by no other than Google’s CEO, Larry Page, which makes us believe that this move was probably his idea. The acquisition has already been approved by the board of directors on both companies, although I’m sure some governments and competitors (Apple, Microsoft) will have a thing or two to say before this is over. Google expects the whole acquisition process to end by late 2011 or early 2012.
So what does this mean for the Android ecosystem? Well for one thing, Google just acquired 17,000 patents specifically related to mobile. As a result, we can expect the whole patent lawsuits issue to end in the near future. With this many patents in hand, patent trolls won’t stand a chance against what is now one of the most powerful companies in the mobile world.
However, other issues will arise, since Google is now becoming a hardware company. Even though Google promised to keep Android open, other Android manufacturers might find this news a little discomforting. For those companies that now have doubts about supporting Android, Larry Page had this to say:
This acquisition will not change our commitment to run Android as an open platform. Motorola will remain a licensee of Android and Android will remain open. We will run Motorola as a separate business. Many hardware partners have contributed to Android’s success and we look forward to continuing to work with all of them to deliver outstanding user experiences.Larry PageGoogle
Surprisingly, other Android OEMs are actually happy about this acquisition, said Andy Rubin during a press conference this morning. Rubin explained how he talked to some manufacturers before going ahead with the acquisition. They agreed this was the right move, probably because they’re getting smacked in the head with a ton of patent lawsuits. Now that Google owns these 17,000 patents, the company will most likely use them to defend OEMs like Samsung and HTC.
UPDATE: Google just posted on its site what OEMs think about the acquisition. Put simply, they love it.
We welcome today’s news, which demonstrates Google’s deep commitment to defending Android, its partners, and the ecosystem.J.K. ShinPresident, Samsung, Mobile Communications Division
I welcome Google‘s commitment to defending Android and its partners.Bert NordbergPresident & CEO, Sony Ericsson
We welcome the news of today‘s acquisition, which demonstrates that Google is deeply committed to defending Android, its partners, and the entire ecosystem.Peter ChouCEO, HTC Corp.
We welcome Google‘s commitment to defending Android and its partners.Jong-Seok ParkPresident & CEO, LG Electronics Mobile Communications Company
These are just some of the immediate effects this acquisition will have upon the Android world. However, I’m sure the repercussions of this announcement will be felt even years from today. At least now we know who will make the Nexus 4.