What’s the true motivation behind Google’s sale of Motorola?

by: Andrew GrushJanuary 29, 2014

Moto X

To say that this has been an interesting week for Android fans would be probably the biggest understatement ever written. Over the weekend, Google and Samsung announced a 10-year cross-license patent agreement, effectively bringing the two companies’ relationships closer together than ever before. Now it seems that this is only the beginning.

In  a period of less than 24 hours, we’ve not only learned that Samsung might be scaling back its own custom apps and services in favor of working closer with Google’s software and apps, another bombshell was dropped this afternoon by Google and Lenovo.

Three major Android-related pieces of news hitting in the same week? We find it hard to believe this is simply a coincidence.

Google has now officially announced that it will sell Motorola to Lenovo for a sum of $2.91 billion dollars, with Lenovo providing $1.41 billion upfront in the form of $660 million in cash and $750 million in shares. The final $1.5 billion is expected to be paid over the next three years.

Three major Android-related pieces of news hitting in the same week? We find it hard to believe this is simply a coincidence.

In an official blog post from Larry Page, Google says its reason for selling Motorola is that “the smartphone market is super competitive, and to thrive it helps to be all-in when it comes to making mobile devices. It’s why we believe that Motorola will be better served by Lenovo—which has a rapidly growing smartphone business and is the largest (and fastest-growing) PC manufacturer in the world. This move will enable Google to devote our energy to driving innovation across the Android ecosystem, for the benefit of smartphone users everywhere.”

Okay, but taking a possible loss on the company only because you feel you don’t have the time to really take it to the next level? We don’t fully buy it. Surely there is more to this story.

CES 2014 Samsung Curved Flexible Displays-7

The Samsung connection

As already mentioned above, there is a new rumor going around that claims Samsung has formed some sort of pact that goes beyond their new patent agreement with Google.

It’s no secret that a fair deal of Google’s success with Android comes from the popularity of Samsung’s Galaxy brand.

Citing “multiple sources familiar with the companies’ thinking”, Recode reports that Samsung may soon be giving up or at least altering its Magazine UX and possibly Touchwiz. Furthermore, Samsung plans to pull back the emphasis on some of its special software in favor of Google’s own apps and services.

At the time, it was unclear what kind of concessions Google would have to make in order for Samsung to agree to these radical changes in direction. Although neither Samsung or Google have confirmed that such a pact really exists, today’s news of the Motorola sale seems to lend credence to the idea.

With previous reports suggesting that tensions were high between Samsung and Google, it makes sense that the two companies sat down and had an intimate talk about their mutually beneficial relationship and where to go from here.

The idea could be that Samsung will be scaling back its focus on software, and in exchange Google will scale back its focus on hardware

It’s no secret that a fair deal of Google’s success with Android comes from the popularity of Samsung’s Galaxy brand. Android and Google’s services have been equally important for Samsung. Where the companies butt heads, however, is in current (or perhaps now ‘previous’) direction.

Samsung hasn’t been too happy with Google’s attempts to jump into the mobile hardware game and Google hasn’t been thrilled at Samsung’s attempts to shove aside Google services in order to bring out their own alternatives.

In short, we speculate that at least part of Google’s reason for selling off Motorola surrounds whatever talks went down with Samsung. Basically the idea could be that Samsung will be scaling back its focus on software, and in exchange Google will scale back its focus on hardware — hence the need to ditch Motorola.

When Recode reported on the Samsung/Google pact, one of their sources said that their agreement represented a “a huge change, a sea of change”. They weren’t kidding.

Google Project Ara Large

Google got what it wanted from Motorola, now it’s time to let go

Although it seems likely that Google’s talks with Samsung tie into the decision to leave Motorola behind, there are probably other contributing factors as well. For starters, despite the fact that Google has helped transform Motorola’s image and worked directly with the company to bring us devices like the Moto X and Moto G, Motorola isn’t exactly swimming in money just yet.

Motorola still has a long ways to go before it reaches its full potential, even if the groundwork has been laid. In their official statement, Larry Page said that they felt another company can better run with this direction as they can give the effort their undivided attention.

Google is keeping the parts it really wanted from Motorola in the first place, and letting another company deal with the headaches involved with the smartphone manufacturing game.

With that it in mind, it’s hard to see what Google has to gain by sticking with Motorola, especially if they really are getting Samsung to scale back their software and ecosystem ambitions. We already know that Google isn’t completely walking away from everything it acquired when it first bought Motorola.

For one thing, Motorola’s Advanced Technology group and Project Ara are staying behind with Google. We also know that Google is keeping the vast majority of Motorola Mobility’s patent portfolio. Bottom-line, Google is keeping the parts it really wanted from Motorola in the first place, and letting another company deal with the headaches involved with the smartphone manufacturing game, an area where Samsung has traditionally excelled.

Still, it’s seems hard to understand why Google would invest so much time and money in Motorola, only to let it go less than two years later. For now, all we can say is that Google had its reasons and we will likely better understand these reasons in time.

Lenovo Brand 2014 CES 3

What’s next for Motorola, and what does the deal mean for Lenovo?

We don’t honestly know what the future will bring for Motorola. So much remains unknown. Lenovo has said it will evaluate whether keeping Motorola’s Texas plant open is the most effective strategy, but they haven’t really committed beyond that. We also don’t know if Motorola will continue long-term as its own firm or if it will be fully merged with Lenovo and simply used as a brand name for select products.

Still, Lenovo clearly sees this as their golden opportunity to break into the U.S. Market. They also are likely planning to use the brand to further expand their presence in Europe. After all, not every customer is going to know that the shiny new Motorola handset is actually a Lenovo product. Heck, there are quite a few non-techie types that probably have no clue Motorola is currently owned by Google.

At CES, they told us personally that they aspire to be the largest manufacturer of smartphones in the world, and that they seek to accomplish this over the next several years. They were able to become the largest manufacturer of PC’s in a relatively short period of time, so it will be very interesting to see how the approach this.

Lenovo Vibe Z side

While I could be wrong, I have a feeling Lenovo won’t make too many sudden changes to Motorola, at least at first. Google has arguably given Motorola a roadmap for success and it makes sense for Lenovo to follow things through, provided they can do so while turning a real profit. Of course, that’s the real clincher. It’s hard to say if Lenovo can fully follow the direction Google was taking without burning a big hole in their pocket book.

Still, fans of Motorola shouldn’t give up hope completely when it comes to the brand. Lenovo knows that it will also be under tough scrutiny by Motorola fans across the globe, and so it makes sense for them to tread carefully. This will especially be true in the United States, where some folks already are leery about the idea of buying from Chinese companies.

Lenovo will need to find a way to gain the loyalty of folks that aren’t so sure that Lenovo has Motorola’s best interest at heart, and sticking with Motorola’s ‘user interface over powerful specs’ strategy is probably a good place to start.

Google-IO-2013 Keynote 8 vic gundotra io logo 1600 aa

Wrap up

We might not know all the reasons behind Google’s decision to rid itself of Motorola, but we know one thing for certain: change is coming. In the meantime, Motorola will continue to run in a “business as usual” manner, as the sale will need to go through regulatory approvals and other closing conditions in the U.S. and China.

What do you think of Google’s decision to sell Motorola? What do you believe is Google’s real motivation behind selling the company? Do you think that Lenovo will be able to continue building on the foundation already built for Motorola? As always, we welcome your thoughts and comments.

  • Jaime

    Nice, well thought article.

  • lalala

    the future of android is samsung.

    • Brandon Miranda

      Seriously, considering all the “power” in a sense, they have over Google now.

  • To me 2.91 billion seems a little low considering they just paid 12.5 billion for them in 2012, that was not that long ago. I see the strategy here though, they bought them, tried to turn things around, it didn’t really work so time to sell and still keep the patents. It all really relied to particularly heavy on the Moto X which was a nice, but not exceptional device. Moto G however I felt was a step in the right direction, but hey Google certainly knows what they’re doing.

    • JosephHindy

      They did sell off the set-top box portion for 2-3 billion a year ago…and they did keep project Ara and aaaaaaaall those delicious patents. So it’s not as though they walked away empty handed, yknow?

  • Brandon Miranda

    Maybe, if what you say is right, the bit of Google stepping back from hardware, this kind of lends credibility to the rumor that Google is going to kill of the Nexus line. Samsung could be the very reason the Nexus line ends. And in all honesty, even though the Nexus line is no where near being the money tree for Google, but it is Android and by killing it, there are in a way killing Android. They will be shooting themselves in the foot. The main reason people buy Nexus devices is for the experience, the novelty, and the development. What happens to our root and ROM community after the decease of Nexus? Every developer would no longer have the stock version of android to go off of and instead will have to focus on very specific devices which will greatly affect the ROM and root community!

    • By killing Nexus devices they are killing Android? And because that affects custom ROMs and root communities? I highly doubt that is how Google (or the majority of people for that matter) sees Android – not saying majority rulez etc but business-wise it just doesn’t make sense they’d be killing Android.

      Besides, part of the No more Nexus rumour presents as evidence the wrath of new Google Play Edition hardware out there, so this isn’t the end of “pure Android”.

      • Brandon Miranda

        I believe ending the Nexus line will destroy the prestigiousness of pure Android. Yes we have GPe devices but they are not Nexus and hence don’t give you that wow faxtor.

        • Weeeeeeeell I don’t know about you but I’d be pretty ‘wowed’ by a GPE device :)

          • Brandon Miranda

            Yes they’re nice phones but they’re not for me.

        • Jillxz

          Like I said. The mainstream don’t care one iota for a Nexus device. It’s the niche group of geeks and techies who care.

      • Jillxz

        Android was before Nexus devices and Nexus devices is for a niche group of people . The mainstream don’t care . They will drop the Nexus devices sooner or later. This will have no affect whatsoever on Android. Mainstream will never know it has gone.

        • Brandon Miranda

          And you sir will be proved wrong when it happens..

          • Jillxz

            I”m a female and not a sir . and I always said that Google would sell or destroy Motorola and Google did sell it It never wanted it . But wanted the patents and since it had Motorola decided to play around and see what it could do with making a smartphone. When Google got tired of the toy , it sold it. Now unfortunately Samsung doesn’t like having the Nexus line around. So Google will kill it off in another year or two. Mark my word. It is going to happen. No one believed that Google would get rid of Motorola. They mad all manner of fun at me because I said that they would get it off their hands. So go ahead good sir and laugh all you like . But it is going to happen. Samsung will see to it. I am sure that was included in the deal between Google and Samsung..

          • Brandon Miranda

            Who said I was laughing? As far as I am concerned this is a huge manner not to be laughed at.

      • Cal Rankin

        It’s also extremely open and completely out there in terms of factory images, binaries, etc. At low prices, that is THE device for Android developers to use. Heck, I wouldn’t be surprised if some engineers in other manufactruers have Nexus phones so that they can see what the basic stuff is like, and that’s where they go from there.

    • I’m not sure the Nexus line is going to go though, I mean just look at what LG has done with it these past few years. From not even being an Android contender with flops such as the LG Thrill (3D) in 2011, to the past 2 Nexus phones, and the Optimus G/G2 which put them back on the map. The Nexus line essentially revived LG’s smartphone business, and I think Google knows that so I don’t think they are as reluctant to give up on Nexus products just yet.

      • Brandon Miranda

        Remember. Google is crazy. They might just drop LG altogether. I think you have very good resopning and I want you to be right. Although. Seeing as LG has found a new sense of direction I don’t believe they need Google to succeed anymore.

        • Cole Raney

          I think LG can succeed without them. So I think it is time for Google to help revive another company. I would love for them to help out HTC or Sony. I like Sony more, but HTC really needs a real comeback.

          • Brandon Miranda

            Sony is doing wonderfully With their new sense of direction and I think it would be in Google’s best interest to help HTC. In all honesty, I do not like HTC’s phones not one bit. They don’t intrigue me and so I don’t like them. I don’t like blinkfeed or any of there features. I feel they need a complete new sense of style and new phones. I like aluminum backs, hence why the 5S is one of my favorite phones, but they way they pulled it off, I just don’t like it.

          • Cole Raney

            Sony still isn’t at the level of even LG. Although they are probably in better shape than LG was before the nexus 4. I agree HTC is the one that needs help more. The only thing is HTC has already made nexus devices. I don’t know if they would want to repeat with HTC when there are so many other OEMs. Overall, I think that is the better idea, to give HTC a turn at the nexus.

          • Brandon Miranda

            I don’t want them to touch the Nexus. I want Google to help them. I hate the HTC One’s look.

    • tocsin

      They might replace the nexus line with GPE :0

      • John-Phillip Saayman

        That’s what I thought.. Not that it’s a good thing. Maybe that’s why a new nexus 10 is MIA

      • Jillxz

        I’m a dummie. What is GPE:0 ?

        • Cal Rankin

          Google Play Edition. There’s a list of devices sold in the US via the Play Store that are manufactuer handsets with vanilla Android on them instead of the skinned version.

          • Jillxz

            Thank you.

  • Nice, finally Android Authority hasn’t written a speak-much-say-little article and has instead given real, awesomely well thought-out perspective on something. Congrats.

    • Brandon Miranda


    • tocsin


    • ^ Absolutely

    • Peterson, thank you for your kind words. We have a lot of very passionate people that study the mobile space – and in particular Android – 24/7. We are going to keep working around the clock to provide the very best reporting of all things mobile technology for as long as we live! Thank you for being a fan!

      • Brandon Miranda

        I can’t tell if this is sarcastic. Or nah ;)

    • Mike Bastable

      …quite an achievement indeed but Andrew Grush has always been the sane one here..can you imagine this article written by Nate Swanner?

      • David Rutla

        I know what you mean. I got banned once before for saying his article sucked. Seemed very childish and couldn’t take the heat.

        • Mike Bastable

          He actually redacted and removed a piece i wrote. AA was very lax in dealing with this indeed, a reason i do not visit this site often. what kind of site lets its writers edit comments!

          • On a Clear Day

            Mike – in case you hadn’t noticed, some comments go beyond the pale in terms of propriety and, probably were written in a state lacking in sobriety by individuals bereft of both intellectual and emotional balance utterly unaware of the conventions attendant to and incumbent upon adults acting in a responsible manner and attempting to comment in a constructive fashion.

            Yes, there are article I have read – here, there and everywhere – on sites that relate to this, that and anything that are not exactly substantive – but on the whole, I find that Android Authority brings a fresh perspective to the subject that is their first love – Android – and does so in a timely and entertaining fashion.

          • Mike Bastable

            mine was written totally sober and posed a pertinent and relevant question that Nate simply did not like being asked. I will call AA out on any prejudiced editing of comments!, as should YOU. I agreethat many comments here are inane and superficial HOWEVER a comment section is a place for debate, criticism and sometimes calling people out on inaccuracies and prejudices etc. So thanks for YOUR considered reply to my (and David’s) remarks.
            Recently AA has improved and he simple Apple bashing and Samsung licking has subsided somewhat. I make a point of complementing every well researched article, as we all should. Here’s hoping AA continues to evolve into a site that deserves the name it carries.

          • On a Clear Day

            Mike I wasn’t seriously trying to suggest that your comment that you referred to that was redacted was unfounded nor mistaken – I have no clue about what that was about – nor need nor desire to know frankly – the fact that you just wrote what you did shows me that you do care about what you write and what and whom you are taking aim at when you target it.

            I have fun when writing; I also find humor in the fact that we humans way too often take ourselves way too seriously and consequently create much ado about nothing too much. What I said about Android Authority and its writers being good I meant – but that doesn’t mean I think anyone – including myself – is perfect. The determining factor, the key by which I judge people’s professional and personal actions is intention. If someone’s intention was good and true – even if they screw up big time, well, that is just one of those lessons we’ve all too often all had to learn the hard way – hopefully out sight of others so we can pretend it didn’t happen.

            I just don’t like it when the comments start to get too personalized and tend toward – being not too nice. That is what gets my hackles up and causes me to be less than the beneficent light of understanding I normally am. lol

            I didn’t mean seriously to say you were drunk or any of the other things I delineated. I was poking fun at some of the comments we have all seen that cause us to shake our heads and wonder.

  • “$750 million in shares” wouldn’t that make Google a co-owner of Lenovo, so much about Samsung influencing the sale theory

    • JosephHindy

      Trading in stocks is a common practice in business acquisitions of this size. It’s not that Google is part owner of Lenovo but rather “investing” in Lenovo. It’s not like many companies have that much in cash just chilling in a bank account ;) it’s usually wrapped up in assets.

      • Investing in a company still makes you a part owner of the company since u own come shares in the company….I know companies really don’t have so much liquidity at any one time but the deal should have had something like payments due over the course of time rather than shares exchange.

  • thartist

    Unfortunately, Lenovo owning Motorola means zero reason for me to be excited.
    Google did an incredible job with Moto but screwed it with releasing the X at such a high initial price, but a second generation could have fixed that easily as the phone was so well received anyway.

    Google must be really scared of Samsung feeling threatened and leaving Android. After all, Samsung could keep selling to the masses because of the Galaxy brand more than what the OS actually is. I just hope Lenovo leaves Dennis Woodside command the ship as he was and doesn’t force any weird sh*t into Moto.

    • Jillxz

      Well , I just wish that Google had told Samsung to go and do your own thing.

    • On a Clear Day

      I agree that any interest I might have had – miniscule as it was – in owning a Motorola phone just evaporated, but that would be the case with any company like Lenovo which is Chinese owned – Communist Chinese that is.

      I think it is not that Google is afraid of Samsung as much as they realize strategically that there is more power, security and potential benefit to both themselves and Samsung by joining forces rather than fighting over the same turf.

      Depending on how they approach it and what their intentions are it could mean that they are creating a collective, synergistic alliance; an alliance whose power and ability to effect change for the better – in both products and ultimately whatever impact they have on society – will prove to be far in excess of what they individually might accomplish. Or, not, as the case may be! sms

  • Tran Nguyen

    Google did smart move. Google can’t support Motorola and kill Samsung or reverse. Like man can’t married two wives. I think that Samsung had sent signal to Google. Also I think that Google need Samsung more than Motorola (didn’t make money last 2yrs). Next few months or next year 2015, Google will not against Apple without giant Samsung support. I am sorry if someone think that Motorola had been improving innovations.

    • lebron

      This would be so much funnier if said with thick Asian accent

      • Tran Nguyen

        Yes Sir, I am an Asian American . That’s hard for me to interpret American language. But do you agree with me what I said?

  • Disasterpiece

    Very well written article. All thoughts explained and all bases covered.

  • Balraj

    This was a shocker for me
    But Google is like a Fox.. so they definitely have something up they sleeve

    • Jillxz

      Definitely . Sly ole Larry “Fox” Page has something up his sleeve and dollar signs in his eyes. That’s for certain.

  • MadCowOnAStick

    I think Google was drunk that’s why

  • Jaun Lombard

    NOOOO SAMSUNG IS GOING TO BECOME BORING!!! Lets hope their Tizen’s Interface will support the Magazine UI for tablets, because I believe the New TabPro series interface looks good!

    • KillEmAllx

      Dude what are you talking about, touchwiz sucks. Imagine a stock-android experience with Samsung optimizations like Multiwindow and other “unnessecary” stuff, and AOSP-friendly.

    • Jillxz

      That interface is hideous . No it will definitely go.

  • esplana28

    Google just throw away Motorola after it gets what it needs.. I feel sorry for Motorola, soon to be a manufacturer of cheap china made mobile phones.
    Nice article though, good job!

  • bakakun028

    Kinda sad go see motorola thrown about like some dirty whore

    • KillEmAllx

      I agree. It’s sad because I had really looked forward to see a Google/Motorola echosystem. But on the other hand, if Samsung starts shipping Galaxy S-branded phones with a more “stock” android experience, and finally go AOSP-friendly, then they have my money. I mean, the only bad thing about Samsung phones is their crappy software…

      • Luis Felipe Bustillo Velasquez

        the bad thing is that not to all people like galaxy design :S

        • KillEmAllx

          Then buy another Google Play Edition phone. I only see this as a good thing because we’re (maybe) finally getting rid of touchwiz, YAY!

  • mrjayviper

    I think you need to preface your article with the statement “android fans in north America” as Motorola is quite nonexistent in other parts of the world.

  • Good article, but your photos are too small.

  • Valtheus

    Who can possibly know what they were thinking or where this is going to lead Motorola. It is a move nobody expected but thats a good lesson for us consumers actually: don’t stick with certain brands, because in the business world, at the end of the day, its all about their business interests.

    That means i will enjoy my Moto G or Moto X, for as long as it serves its purpose, and then jump to the next device that suits me.

  • Blowntoaster

    we, the consumers and loyal followers of all things android should see some good in this.
    The father (Google) is taking it’s best performer (Samsung), incorporating their tech into android itself, instead of being a custom UI, and bringing that to the masses.
    HTC, Sony, LG, Motorola, Lenovo, Meizu etc, then all benefit from that.
    and all the Samsung haters who are going to say that Samsung sucks and their innovative ideas suck, yes, Touchwiz is a slightly bloaty b#astard at times, but it is one of the most feature filled UI’s out there.
    so let Google, the wizards of all things android work their magic, drop some iffy features, add the good ones to stock android, optimize and tweak it to perfection and everyone wins.

  • Mike Bastable

    interesting moves by Google indeed.
    The sale of Motorola was always gonna happen, just needed to get that Company healthy enough for someone to want to buy it.
    The Samsung moves are MORE interesting. Less Samsung innovation and more Google led development using Google services…I have been saying this forever on this site: The Open source nature of Android does not help Google make money and that once Google achieved Market share domination it would move to fill the gaps and make Android a more walled ecosystem (like iOS) forcing the use of its apps on Android OEMs (Google makes $$$$$ from Google play).
    So will Android become like iOS and Kindle but run but run by Google? Probably.
    The other problem for Android emerged this week with Samsung’s stagnating Market share.
    Indeed Nexus has helped LG, and other OEMs are making great cheap handsets with great specs. Samsung traditionally makes one awesome handset and loads of derivative cheaper versions with poor specs. The emergence of cheap but awesome Handsets is the real danger to Samsung, and they know it!
    So we can probably expect the death of the Nexus series because these products have fueled the low cost good specs movement.
    Finally Google is aware that TIZEN is a working polished product and can become a real threat, in time.
    Samsung has also recently made some noises about new Windows handsets.
    I think Google wants all noses turned to Android as much as possible.
    Do i see Samsung giving up its Mobile store? no…do i see Samsung handsets getting VERY early access to updated Android versions: YES.
    As Android becomes more of a walled in ecosystem run by Google it will be interesting to see which OEMs can make money and differentiate
    themselves with good hardware with an individual companys own design ethos and identity or is the future just slabs of glass running the latest Google software? (i hope not).

    • Jillxz

      I will stick with LG until LG ceases to make smartphones. I don’t think it fair to the other manufactures for Google to favor Samsung.

  • Shark Bait

    Makes sense to me , Google make lots more money from Samsung than they ever would moto in the coming years

    Still, I am shocked at this, I thought a Motorola sale would come but not so soon, or for so little, or to Lenovo. Google turned moto around , created great phones , and even more importantly, revived the brand. People responded well to moto, it looked cool again. The made in america was the icing on the cake which make the lenovo choice baffling. Surly their must be american companies better placed to take custody of moto??

    On the hole, android is probably safer, and samsung and google are a strong, strong partnership, but Android has lost a strong manufacturer in the process

    • AussieGreek

      Selling only 500,000 moto x in the third quarter is not turning the company around my friend?

      • Shark Bait

        I think they have totally turned moto around, it may not be profitable yet, but they have created a launch pad to send them into profitability

  • Alexandru Chiuariu

    The final $1.5 million – there’s a typo, Andrew.

  • yusr

    If they pump outfantastic phones at a realistic price I’m all for it

  • John-Phillip Saayman

    Hope samsung doesn’t take away the good stuff and make the S5 boring..

  • Jayfeather787

    At least they kept Ara.

  • Adon

    Interesting,should have seen this happening just wasnt expecting Motorola to getting caught up in the war. Looks like a peace agreed before a WAR lol. Anyways,Samsung doesnt underestimate the Competitors. If they Really wanted to Cut some Neck off,LG and Googles Love child (NEXUS) would be the shooting point. But ,yeah,TONS of politics behind the sceen. Its a case of dont Take my Stuff and i will not touch yours lol. Anyways,it would have been very interesting if another Motorola was bought by the Like of a Company like APPLE. That would set some fire lol,Moto has tons of potential,ESPECIALLY in new Markets and with Younger buyer. Round 1 ,Done. Round 2? Round 3? Ahaha i smell fire

  • MSmith79

    I’m not one to hop on to conspiracy theories, but I think you’re onto something with your thoughts on the connection to the Samsung pact. Google clearly had plans for Motorola (they made drastic changes to their lineup and software and hardware approach, put in an infrastructure for customizations, built American plants, etc) and was clearly ready and willing to take losses for the first few years in order to pull off this long term strategy. The only reason I can see they would sell them would be in exchange for big concessions from Samsung. It would be worth it for Sammy too as TouchWiz is clearly controversial with as many people loathing it, as do like it. I’d say you’re spot on Andrew.

    • Ben Edwards

      A more vanilla look to TouchWiz would be great, especially if they can scale back some of the more unnecessary features they throw in. Might fix the lag issues finally.

  • Joachim Nilsson

    I really wonder what other concessions both companies have made. Will be very interesting to follow the development in this area. Will Samsung ditch Tizen now, or any plans they might have had for FirefoxOS, and if so, what did Google promise to do, signed Samsung as provider for all future (10 years) Nexus devices? This truly is one of the biggest news in a long time, and we haven’t even seen what MWC will bring this year! Oh dear, as a Sony fan this is sort of troubling news …

  • Marcelo

    Leverage… Google bought Mot for the IP and leverage. With Mot they always had a plan B and were able to get others, primarily Samsung, to jump head on into Google SW and Services territory.

  • Stu14nmUD64bit7″

    I always saw Motorola as a turnaround project, someone rightly said that they sold the set top box division, Motorola invested heavily in Honeycomb, the first Android tablet OS. If Google had left them to go to the wall, other companies would have wondered, why should we take a risk, Google have the patents, advanced research division and Ara. Samsung is big, 10 billion in 14 nm chip factory big, 14 billion in advertising, billions more in screens, RAM, flash etc. To have gone in with Intel, or others without a track record in mobile, might have gone as badly, as Microsoft’s efforts, as we move into UD 4k, 64 bit, economies of scale are needed. Frankly Samsung ought to buy or merge with AMD, Nvidia, Intel, ARM and or Qualcomm, 64 bit and more than 100 core GPU knowledge, would help. Sure would miss the Nexus program though, I’ve bought 6 of them in the past, love kit kat, FHD, 2GB RAM, 32 GB of flash, on the cheap.

  • Neo Morpheus

    Excellent article.

    Little advice to Lenovo, if they are really interested in competing with Samsung.

    1- Make your devices with removable batteries and if possible, SD cards slots.
    2- Don’t waste time adding a skin to android and just use pure android.
    3- Unlocked bootloaders, even if you need 2 version for Vericrocks.
    4- Lower the price of phones as they become older, like what Motorola is doing now. Example, Galaxy S4 developers edition is still 650 dollars almost a damn year after it was released.

    Good luck Lenovo, follow those steps and you will have a guarantee sale from me.

  • abazigal

    My own guess is that Google needed a 2nd hardware manufacturer to serve as a counterbalance to Samsung.

    If the rumours are true, Google seemed distressed and annoyed by Samsung’s heavy skinning of Android, to the point where they are hiding Google’s stock apps in favour of promoting their own stock apps. At the same time, Samsung might have been irritated by Google’s ownership of Motorola, and maybe even saw some threat (what if Google started to favour Motorola over other OEMs in the future?). So in a sense, Motorola was becoming a liability which Google needed to divest itself off, now that they had gotten the patents they wanted. So Google and Samsung worked out a deal. Google would have nothing to do with Motorola, and maybe even lend their software expertise to Samsung, while Samsung scales back on the heavy skinning.

    However, the smartphone market is now practically a 2-way race between Samsung and Apple. Google knows it can’t afford to bank solely on Samsung, so it sells Motorola to Lenovo, who has the financial clout to become a viable 3rd major OEM player. The target here isn’t Apple, because iPhone users have shown to be fairly loyal to the Apple platform and are less likely to switch over. The real target is Samsung, since the Android phones Lenovo releases would be more in direct competition with Samsung’s Android phones than Apple’s IOS devices.

    So even if Samsung one day decides to withdraw from the smartphone market or switch over to another OS like Tizen, Google still has Lenovo-owned Motorola to continue flooding the market with Android devices sporting Google’s services. Of course, there is always that risk that Lenovo decides to fork Android themselves, but that’s the risk inherent when you make your OS open-source and give it away for free.

  • Memphis May [S]unjay

    It’s official, Google is in bed with Samsung. We all know who’s making the next Nexus phone.