Apr 11 AT 1:23 PM Dustin Earley 53 Comments

Google doesn’t know what to do with Motorola; might be looking to sell to Huawei

sprint-motorola-press-event

Well that was quick. Just eight months ago, Google announced plans to acquire Motorola, and all the patents they own, for $12.5 billion. In that time, Google has gone from country to country getting the acquisition approved with great success (China is the only country that hasn’t approved the deal). But for what? To keep Motorola afloat, pumping money into the once-mobile-giant until they can get back on their feet? To eventually totally merge the two companies, creating real, honest-to-goodness Google manufactured Android devices? (Rubin promised this wouldn’t happen, so don’t bet on it). Or is Google simply looking to off Motorola as soon as the acquisition is complete? If the latest rumors out of Asia are right, Motorola might be a Huawei-owned company before long.

According to an article from the Wall Street Journal today, no one at Google really knows what to do with Motorola. Or the 20,500 Motorola employees working in 92 facilities across 97 countries.

While Andy Rubin says the two will operate as entirely different companies, Larry Page is “excited about the opportunities” Motorola would bring to Google. Other rumors suggest that Google might be looking to sell Motorola to Huawei, who has been hell bent on breaking into the smartphone market in a big way. Which one do we think makes the most sense? If the price is right, Motowei is a definite possibility.

It’s no secret why Google really wanted Motorola:  for the patents. It’s also no secret that Google makes their money by giving out free software to distribute their ads. Google couldn’t give out free software to make money on ads if they were being sued into oblivion. So they bought a bunch of patents to use as a security blanket. The way they see it, the patents alone are worth $12.5 billion. If Google is able to sell Motorola, while still keeping the patents, it’s a theoretical win-win.

Not only do they not have to worry about managing a sinking ship, they get back some of the money they spent on patents. Of course if Google’s real intentions are to use Motorola’s hardware division to make their own handsets, selling wouldn’t make sense. But there’s a very slim chance that will happen.

We’ve been waiting for some kind of sign indicating what Google will end up doing with Motorola, and selling to Huawei makes quite a bit of sense. What would you like to see happen to Motorola?

Via: IntoMobile

Source: WSJ

Dustin Earley: Tech enthusiast; avid gamer; all around jolly guy.

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  • spazby

    I wish they kept it and influenced the hell out of future hardware

    • http://www.infotainmentempire.com pekosROB

      Seriously. Or at least somehow get those updates out FASTER! And give at least one major OS upgrade per device (I’m looking at you, D3 and DX2).

      • redraider133

        Google can’t even update their nexus line in a timely manner anymore so I wouldn’t say they could help moto much in that regard. Especially since updates would still need to be tested by carriers.

        • Ken

          its not google that pushes out updates its the phone compamys and the brand of phones such as a tmobile htc mytouch 4g or a samsung galaxy nexu

          • redraider133

            Except google is the one pushing updates for their nexus line which is what I was talking about

        • http://www.infotainmentempire.com pekosROB

          This is very true. The least they could do is give one major OS upgrade (i.e. 2.3 to 4.0; 2.1 to 2.2; 2.2 to 2.3; going from 2.3.4 to 2.3.5 does not count).

  • Bpear96

    If it happens maybe motorola(or motowe) phones will finally have unlocked bootloaders lol. I always like huawei as a company and this could be big for them :)

    • kazahani

      Except that there is substantial evidence that they funnel their profits right to the Chinese military…

  • http://www.jaxidian.org/update/ jaxidian

    Just as long as the resulting company unlocks the bootloaders, I’ll probably approve of it!

    But seriously, I think this makes a lot of sense. I won’t be disappointed by this happening. Huawei has been an interesting company and a merge of them + Moto’s philosophies might result in a very successful brand to really compete with HTC and Samsung!

  • triangle

    I hope they sell it for a lot of money. It would be a win-win where Huawei gets a presence and brand that they could leverage, along with some great technology. Under google, I think Motorola would pretty much wither into irrelevance.

  • Zagrash

    I’d just love to see more PURE Android Moto devices. Motorola’s hardware has pretty much always been good, it’s been their software decisions that have ruined their devices (even pre-Android/ MotoBLUR).

  • Ben

    On what authority can you say that ‘Google doesn’t know what to do’? What insider information do you have that you can make such a bold claim? It seems that all you have on the strategic inner workings of Google’s decision making are a few 3rd party blogs and papers. This isn’t journalism…

    • professandobey

      Yeah, it seems hard to believe that one of the most successful companies ever, just spent $12.5 billion on some patents and is only now figuring out a strategy for the rest of the assets. They could have licensed the patents for much less if they didn’t have a plan for Moto.

      • reddragonman

        Licensing the patents would not allow them to use the patents the way they want, mainly, as a protection against apple’s sue happy nature. Owning the patents allows them to show apple, hey, if you sue us for this, we’ll hit you right back. Sorta using them as a deterrent to PREVENT these dumb lawsuits from ever happening. I think it would be a smart move for Google to do this, as it will help offset the cost of these patents, and they really have no interest in becoming a phone manufacturer. It could also bring new ideas to Motorola, especially in the software side where they’re hurting.

  • kicost

    sell it and take the patents…who cares about motorola just take the patents of it…

  • mitchell

    I just want all of motorola to get ICS soon.

  • Darknight42020

    Keep the patents and give the market some stronger healthier competition by giving a weaker manufacturer more of a foothold. Maybe if Huawei put more of a pure android device out there, people would flock to experience it.

    • redraider133

      huawei has some nice designs and seems to be making some higher end phones. Them+ motorola could be great for both companies.

  • ben steel

    Wall Street blogs have been discussing this for over a month…they can’t compete in this crowded landscape without upsetting landscape and being accused of getting preferential treatment and still make nice profits. Obviously, they keep the mobile patents, the diamond in the rough……Moto’s cable set-top box technology and patents which they hopefully can use to give GTV a quality tune up, and fix their stall-out issues.

  • http://daniel.friesen.name dantman

    Handsets, really? That’s not the only use they could be. I want to see Google taking advantage of Motorola to rev up markets like Google TV/Android Hub and Project Tungsten.

  • ardy

    “92 facilities across 97 countries.” how?

    • professandobey

      Some facilities are built spanning over country borders. They even put one covering the corner where 3 countries intersect.

      No one knows why Motorola thought this would be a good idea. Some speculate it was a marketing stunt for MotoBlur (you know, like blurring the lines on the map).

      The regulations of multiple countries fighting over individual facilities are killing them. It’s moves like this that keep Motorola hemorrhaging money today.

      • WlfHart

        Wow… I might not be a business minded individual but as entertaining as that practice sounds even I’d call that corporate suicide.

  • Janson

    Moto had 4.5 billion in cash and liquid assets, so take that from the 12.5 and you get a transaction of 8 billion for patents + the manufacturer. Sell off the set top business for several hundred million dollars, and then you start to have a smaller and smaller break even. Unless google wants the set top business, which is also possible…

  • kazahani

    I will say this: It will be a shame if Moto becomes a foreign enterprise. They had so much to do with the rise of telecommunications industry, and they along with the Apple are the last major electronics manufacturers to be headquartered in the USA.

    • bellken

      I am not sure Apple would qualify as a electronics manufacturer. They do the design, but, most of their stuff is actually made by Foxconn.

  • jeff donuts

    good riddance pure garbage from Motorola anyways

  • Dhaval

    Motorola has been a pioneer at Mobile Technology. This is not very unlikely to see a fate of such a great and old company to end up acquired by some other bigger company, keep the necessary and throw away the rest. Look at what happened to Palm, after being acquired by HP, where are they now, and what happened to WebOS?
    If Google wish to sell of the Hardware part of the Motorola Company to someone else and keep the Patents to themselves, it is totally understandable, but I personally think they should start making their own hardware, its a high time now, and add a real competition to the market by approaching the same way as what Apple does, or even Microsoft – Nokia Partnership is trying to achieve, or heck, even Samsung tried doing with their BADA OS.
    Google, keep it or sell it, please change a few of the practices that you have put in place. Be the company who changes the world and people follow, not the company who follows the lead of others.

    • LEAP24-21

      Google must not enter the hardware bussiness. Samsung is already making Tizen OS that will looks like Android but will have the same hardware acceleration as the Samsung Galaxy S2 or better so that means Android could go down, because Android is not buttery smooth and that includes Ice Cream Sandwich. Also, HTC and LG also were planning for their own OS. I hope Google gets buttery smooth patents to be really competent. I want Hardware Accelerated CSS and GPU acceleration 3D! for Android.

      • bw

        it seems to me like you’re making a good argument for google to maintain control of motorola. With all the other hardware companies coming out wit their own operating systems, at least it would give google absolute influence over 1 of them.

        • LEAP24-21

          I’ve seen in Google Chrome in about:flags that there is something that have to be with Hardware Accelerated CSS. I hope that means Google is preparing that technology for the Alpha version of Google Chrome Mobile and/or for their next version of Android (possibly called Jellybeans). I want Google to sell Motorola to sell the hardware division of Motorola and also I want Google to make an strategy to keep the other OEM’s making their own Android handsets.

    • LEAP24-21

      Google must not enter the hardware bussiness. Samsung is already making Tizen OS that will looks like Android but will have the same hardware acceleration as the Samsung Galaxy S2 or better so that means Android could go down, because Android is not buttery smooth and that includes Ice Cream Sandwich. Also, HTC and LG also were planning for their own OS. I hope Google gets buttery smooth patents to be really competent. I want Hardware Accelerated CSS and GPU acceleration 3D! for Android. I also would like GPU overclocking in Android.

  • b

    My Comcast cable box is made by Motorola, I would love to see gtv on these boxes in the future.

  • Sam Monty

    I wish, they stay together and continue inovation for the future.

  • Ryan F Cannon

    My hopes was that instead of having Motorola churn out 100s of devices each month that use android moderately well, maybe they would develop 2 or 3 devices that are designed to use android exceptionally well

    • Anthony E

      That would be logical, therefore it will never happen.

  • yahya

    I think they should keep it if they are serious about Android@Home. they can use Motorola to manufacture several Android@Home devices and show that people like them. and all other manufactures will be competing to sign deals with Google to put the software in their devices.

  • Mike

    I don’t know how you guys keep a site up with all the speculation you make.

    Oh, no news, lets make some shit up, maybe something that might make us happy then post it. Even if the WJS was right about “nobody knowing what to do” does not mean all the sudden they are going to sale it to Huawei.

    Please stick to the facts and stop making stuff up. You guys have even posted on this problem before. At least phase things more as a “opinion”.

  • Klaus

    I seriously doubt this story. Seems like $12.5 billion is a bit much to just sell the company off immediately.

  • TheBatman

    How come nobody is reporting the bottom part of the article?

    “people close to Google say it plans to make substantial investment in Libertyville, Ill.-based Motorola, whose share in smartphones is languishing at around 4%. The goal, these people say, is to build truly innovative devices, which the company realizes will take both money and talent.”

    Doesn’t sound like they’re looking to sell it off to me.

  • redraider133

    This really just goes to show Google was buying moto for the patents and not to do what some were saying they were going to do and do great things with moto ala stock android and unlocked bootloaders.

  • http://gplus.to/winkx droidguyuk

    Google should use Motorola to get gtv going, coz content through your tv is the future, and they have messed up not making all Motorola phones stock android, moto blur could be a downloadable app for those who like it? Some people will probably those who like lady boy gaga.

  • Nathan D.

    They should get together or get people from the public to give them ideas onto what to do with motorola like small project that could help in ways people most want it.

  • Y314K

    How can u not connect the dots some more… Although u at least mentioned the China hold up to the sale… Hold up indeed…

    Story from March…

    “Google’s deal to acquire Motorola Mobility for
    $12.5 billion is still waiting for approval by China’s antitrust agency.
    The deal has already received clearance from the US Justice Department,
    the European Union, and other jurisdictions around the world, making
    China the last hurdle. However, Chinese regulators have added another
    round of investigations, which could bring further delays.

    In a regulatory filing made today by Motorola, it
    was revealed that China’s antitrust agency had extended the second phase
    of its invesitgations. Google and Motorola still expect the transaction
    to close within the first half of this year, but they could not provide
    any assurances that the transaction will be approved by China. ”

    http://www.slashgear.com/googl

    And in April u start seeing rumors of Moto being sold to China’s Huawei… Gee… I wonder why… I hope it’s just a bluff from Google… If this turns out to be true then Google is more full BS then I previously thought…

    Love Android… Not so thrill about Google…

  • Rick

    You are Right and Wrong! Google did wanted Motorola as a security blanket by getting the patents but they also had other plans! Google hasn’t really been up to the task. The nexus phones don’t get the update first, Google+ is not so popular like facebook, and many other things they are trying to achieve and don’t really achieve them. To tell you the truth Google was buying everything it wanted because they wanted to be in mobile, tablet, computer

  • Rick

    You are Right and Wrong! Google did wanted Motorola as a security blanket by getting the patents but they also had other plans! Google hasn’t really been up to the task. The nexus phones don’t get the update first, Google+ is not so popular like facebook, and many other things they are trying to achieve and don’t really achieve them. To tell you the truth Google was buying everything it wanted because they wanted to be in mobile, tablet, and computer industries etcetera. Google decided to fix all this since last year after buying Motorola Mobility. That is why they changed their privacy policy! O.o Well anyways Google has noticed all these mistakes and has also noticed some benefits and some not well benefits. This year they are going to be releasing a tablet. It will be from Motorola they will also bring phones but not many. Even Motorola said last year that they are going to stop releasing a lot of phones(they should have done that a long time ago!) Now they are planning to release 1flagship phone every year like the iPhone and the Samsung Galaxy which is very nice. With the new android store called Google Play they are trying to combine music,apps,movies,books! And more things people due in their computer,phone or tablet. Now with the new privacy policy they will be able to share a lot more stuff with their upcoming tablets anf phones. Google has been thinking of this strategy to beat Apple but Amazon is another competitor that they should look at (watch out google that amazon is anxsious to see you work on motorola) but Google had done well and at the end of this year around October,November,December! You should all expect Google increasing its competicion by releasing many things like phones and tablets etc By 2013 Google will blow people’s minds on how good their products will be! GOOGLE,MOTOROLA,YOUTUBE,ANDROID= Awesome Technology and communication! GOOGLE! (OK one more thing! Those new google glasses will be reveal… nah ill tell you guys later!)

    Sincerely,

    Rick

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  • kk1000

    The notion of Google (a very smart company) buying Motorola (a somewhat smart company) is laughable to begin with. The culture of A-List Engineers can not possibly mix with a fur flung hardware maker.

    • Aerospark

      Motorola does more then just hardware, take a look at the Qt framework (originally by trolltech) for example, probably one of the more relevant reasons why this is happening.

      They’ve created an amazing multiplatform, multiarchatecture multilanguage programming framwork that is helping me with my learning of C++ dramatically.

  • js

    Let’s be clear. It’s Motorola Mobility, NOT MOTOROLA. THERE IS NO MOTOROLA. That company doesn’t exist. There is no “MOT” on the stock exchange. Try MMI or MSI The other half is Motorola Solutions. Can we get clear about that? I see one post knows the difference. And seriously, the Android RAZR? MMI = no marketing ability. Oh right, neither side could give up the brand name of “Motorola”, a once innovative family owned company.

  • http://droidsamurai.blogspot.com DroidSamurai

    Sorry to ruin the fun, but I think this is not going to happen. Google’s executives have said it again and again that they don’t like that idea. If Google is remotely interested in putting some influence into Motorola’s hardware business, the ICS upgrade of the RAZR will probably be a stock ICS port. But no, we are still going to get the “Motorola Experience”.

    It’s time to wake up, folks.

  • professandobey

    Only problem is Google isn’t yet in control on Motorola.