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Google reiterates that it's going to keep Motorola as a separate business

June 22, 2012

At Google’s latest annual shareholder meeting, Chief Financial Officer Patrick Pichette said that Motorola is going to remain a separate company for the time being, and it’s not going to be integrated into Google anytime soon.

“It’s important it stays on its own battlefield,” he said. “We are not integrating Motorola with Google, we’re making sure it has everything it needs to win in its own space. You shouldn’t expect a full integration of the two companies.”

He then said that Motorola has “fantastic assets that need to be reset, reprioritized… and in that context think of Google in a way taking Motorola private.” Google chairman Eric Schmidt said of the deal: “We bought Motorola for the sum of the patents, the products, the people, the innovation.”

So what does this mean? It’s a little hard to say, since they are being pretty vague about it, but it seems they are worried that their Android partners will get upset if Google becomes too involved in Motorola. Once again, the Mountain View giant affirms as strong as possible that it won’t integrate it (at least for now).

They also keep saying that they bought Motorola for the patents, again, to keep their partners calm, and to convince them that they are doing it mostly for their benefit. That’s probably true, but I think it’s just part of the truth. I think Google has much more ambitious plans with hardware, and, until they will be ready to impress everyone with their own hardware (coming from Motorola), they won’t give out too many hints about it.

I figure that now more than ever, after Microsoft’s announcement of the Surface tablets, Google will want to do more stuff like that, as well. In a way, they were already doing it with the Nexus devices, and that program seems to be expanding further with multiple OEMs launching Nexus devices this fall, presumably offered for sale on the Play Store. Google also has this Nexus tablet made by Asus, that will be announced at I/O and should start shipping very soon after that.

But in the case of the Nexus program, it’s not really Google making the products. I think Motorola is part of Google’s goal to make their own products in the future, without being limited by a certain manufacturer’s capabilities or agenda. Plus, they get to keep it very secret, if that’s what they want, until they are ready to launch it.

I’m still hoping that we’ll see stock Android Motorola devices soon, as I can’t imagine why Google would want Motorola to apply a skin on top of their ready-to-go stock Android version. But there is a good chance they won’t change that for now, at least until 2013.