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Google is planning to sell the Motorola set top box business

August 30, 2012

According to two people familiar with the matter, Google has tapped financial firm Barclays to help them sell Motorola’s set top box business to interested buyers. Things are still early, but Google is hoping to sell it for as much as $2 billion. The move comes soon after Motorola laid off 20% of its workforce and closed down 30% of its 90 facilities, as a way to decrease costs and increase profitability.

This may be just another way for Google to make Motorola a lean division, that is profitable and self-sustaining. However, it comes as a bit of a surprise – when news broke out that Google is buying Motorola a year ago, people believed that Google is going to make use of Motorola’s set top boxes for its Google TV. Apparently, that won’t be the case anymore.

It would’ve made even more sense to use Motorola’s set top boxes for the Google Fiber offering, the one where Google also gives access to a lot of TV channels. But maybe Google has other plans with that. Either the company is doing it because Motorola’s set top box business wasn’t up to par with what it had in mind, and it would’ve been too hard to turn it around, or Google would rather let its partners handle the hardware side of Google TV or any other such future devices.

Initially there was a rumor that Google might sell off the handset division as well, to Huawei. But I doubt that’s going to happen anymore. I don’t think we’ll see too much of Google’s influence on Motorola’s devices this year, but all 2013 devices should have Google written all over them, so that’s certainly something to be excited about regarding the future of Motorola.