A lot has been said about Google getting Motorola for their patents, and that’s certainly one of the major reasons why they bought them, but Google wouldn’t have bought Motorola with their 20,000 employees, and pay $12.5 billion just for their patents.
Here are 5 other reasons why the Motorola acquisition is a great fit for Google:
1) Android smartphones, in Google’s vision
Getting Motorola, which, even after a series of missteps lately, I still consider one of the best 3 Android manufacturers, will give Google a big player in the handset market, and they’ll be able to more directly influence the way the smartphone market should evolve. Look at it this way. If Apple releases a new iPhone with a new feature that their customers love, Android manufacturers will try to have that feature, too, next time. The problem with this is that they will be playing Apple’s game, and evolve the Android phones the way Apple thinks smartphones should evolve.
Google can still try doing that to an extent with the Nexus line, but the Nexus line has so far been more of a niche market, sold mainly to the most enthusiastic Android fans, and therefore the other Android manufacturers don’t take it and its new features (like NFC) so seriously. With the help of Motorola’s devices, everyone will see exactly where Google wants the Android market, and smartphones in general, to go. For example, I bet you’ll see all new Motorola phones have NFC chips next year. We’ll probably see all Motorola’s phones have hardware acceleration for WebM videos as well, and so on. Basically,whatever hardware features Google will want in Android phones, they can push it in volume through Motorola’s devices, whether the others are willing to experiment with the new feature or not. But if that new feature becomes popular with Android fans, they can adopt it later, too. This should “supercharge” the Android ecosystem, just like Larry Page said when he announced the acquisition.
2) TV set top boxes
Motorola is a global leader in TV set top boxes. This should give Google TV a big boost, especially now that Logitech will probably withdraw from this market, but Logitech have no one but themselves to blame. They thought they could overcharge by 50%-300% (depending on which set top box you compare it with), just because they were the first with Google’s new product.
I’ve noticed this happen with Honeycomb and ChromeOS, as well. Some manufacturers think that because they are the first with Google’s new product they can charge a premium for it, but they don’t realize that in the process, they might kill the whole market before it even gets off the ground. Google should do something about that in the future, and force them to sell the products at very reasonable prices right from launch day. I’d rather see a product at $500 through out the year, than see it at $600 in first 6 months, and $400 in the last 6 months. They are “teaching” people to not buy their products immediately, and wait till they get cheaper. The problem with that strategy is that they might change their mind and buy some newer products by the time they get cheaper.
3) Better ISP relationships
Motorola also sells a lot of cable boxes to ISP’s, all over the world. This should make ISP’s depend a little more on Google, and perhaps some, like Comcast in USA, will even stop blocking Google TV’s for their cable subscribers. Since Google is an Internet company, I’m sure they will have a lot to benefit from strengthening their relationships with ISP’s, and maybe they will even convince them they need higher broadband speed in USA, which should benefit everyone, not just Google.
4) Better carrier relationships
Motorola is the company that invented the phone. Over the years they’ve had great relationships with the carriers, because they’ve helped them make many billions over the past 3 decades or so. Although, Google has had pretty good relationships with the carriers lately, because of the success of Android, they’re still a relatively new partner of theirs, and it wouldn’t hurt them to benefit from Motorola’s strong relationships with the carrier either, especially now that the iPhone is expanding to other carriers in USA, and Nokia will try to establish some kind of relationships with them as well, through Microsoft’s help. Motorola’s relationship with the carriers could ensure Android phones always get the better deals.
5) Jumpstarting the Android home automation market
Motorola’s CEO Sanjay Jha is a pretty visionary guy from what I’ve noticed. He’s always looking for new opportunities in the tech industry, and you can just tell he loves tech in general. They’ve been working on the home automation for a while, and last December they bought a start-up ,called 4Home, to get a stronger foothold in the automation market. Google has already announced their plans to make Android the center of your home, back at I/O this year. Just like in the smartphone market, Google themselves could be the ones pushing for what they want to see in the automation market, with Motorola’s help.
If everything goes according to plan, Android should become an even bigger player in the tech industry than it is right now.