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Google might not sell Motorola's hardware division after all, according to fresh report

April 13, 2012

If you haven’t got enough drama from the Motorola-Google merger, which is closing to a year in the making but is still not a done deal, a new episode of the soap-opera involving the two companies has apparently debuted.

I am talking about Google’s plans for Motorola’s hardware division, which are murky, to say the least. Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that, according to “trusted sources”, Google might be planning to get rid of Moto’s hardware department as soon as possible, with Huawei shaping out to be the most likely buyer.

However, according to an even fresher rumor, coming from Digitimes (who else?), Larry Page and Sergey Brin are actually far from being prepared to sell off Motorola.

The guys at Digitimes are citing sources in “Taiwan’s handset industry” and appear to be convinced that Google is very interested in the hardware business, at least for now. That seemed pretty unlikely until now, as it could lead up to conflicts in the “Android family”, but we have to admit that today’s report makes at least as much sense as yesterday’s did.

We talked yesterday about Samsung, HTC, LG, Sony, and all the other Google partners in the Android business and how they could become dissatisfied with a preferential treatment given to Motorola. Then again, we must keep in mind that the smartphone vendors are currently doing pretty well (especially Sammy) and they wouldn’t want to risk their positions in the market by venturing outside Google’s protective wing, would they?

Also, in all honesty, HTC and Samsung were themselves given preferential treatment in the past from Google, with the Nexus co-branded smartphones, so why shouldn’t Moto receive its chance as well?

Another good point that today’s Digitimes report makes refers to Motorola’s hardware division and how it not only covers smartphones and tablet PCs, but also STBs (set-top boxes). Moto has some long-term cooperation relationships with telecom carriers and cable TV operators as well, so Google’s executive team might not be very keen in giving up on all these potential money-making machines so fast. Google TV might benefit from Big M’s expertise in this matter. Plus, Apple might release its long-rumored smart TV this year, so Google will need all hands on deck to counter it.

While this rumor seems credible enough to at least be taken into consideration when talking about Google’s relationship with Motorola, we should keep in mind that it’s nothing else than a rumor coming from fishy sources. Also, it contradicts yesterday’s speculations, so things could go either way, as far as I’m concerned.

What do you guys think? Is Google seriously thinking about selling Motorola’s hardware division or will it keep the department running and get into the hardware manufacturing business. Or, are the search giants’ executives as undecided as these rumors seem to be, at least for now? I personally incline towards the third option and think that they still don’t have a definitive plan concerning this area of business, but that’s just my humble opinion.