At MWC, Alain Mutricy, Motorola’s senior vice president of portfolio and product management said that Motorola will not have a shift in strategy once they get acquired by Google:
“I don’t see a very short term, complete change of the product direction,” he said. “I think that we have a business to run, and therefore I think that there is continuity to be expected for 2012.”
I’m not sure at this point if Google and Motorola are saying this just to avoid criticism from either their partners or the press regarding the fact that they are going to sell hardware themselves through Motorola. Google has actually said that they will build a kind of “firewall” between them and Motorola, so the Android team is unaware of Motorola’s plans and Motorola is unaware of the Android team’s plans – at least to the degree that other manufacturers are or are not aware of the Android plans.
Google has allowed a few manufacturers to get a sneak peek at what’s coming with the latest version of Android months before the public release, and they are thinking of doing the same with Motorola (or rather continue to do the same, since they were one of these manufacturers before, too). This should give a bit of certainty to the other manufacturers that Motorola is not getting special privileges.
On the other hand, it would be naive to think that Google will have absolutely no control over what’s going on at Motorola. Not only would that be unnecessary, but what would be the point of buying Motorola then? Plus, Google will replace the head of Motorola with one of their own executives, so even in worst case scenario, that executive would still report directly to the Google CEO, Larry Page, who would know what is going on with the Android team.
While Google may not want their partners to get upset over the the acquisition, I think a lot of Android users would like Google to get a lot more involved with Motorola. At the very least, Motorola should start using only stock Android. That might not be possible this year, according to this executive, but it would make a lot of sense for Motorola to eventually do that. It would make no sense for Google to develop one version of Android with a certain UI, apps and widgets, and then for Motorola to waste a few more months trying to modify all of that with their own skin, when Motorola is part of Google. Why would they do that? Why would Motorola still have its own vision of how Android should look like, when it would be owned by Google?
So I’m hoping that even if Google doesn’t let the Android team give special privileges to Motorola, like much earlier access to the code and so on, they will still tell the Motorola division to only use stock Android from now on. That poses no threat to their other partners, at least from their perspective, because they have no intention of using stock Android anyway. And if they do, then they are free to do the same, and get access in the same time with Motorola.
What do you think? Should Motorola use only stock Android from now on?