Technology giant Google has announced an agreement to acquire Motorola’s mobile device manufacturing arm Motorola Mobility for $12.5 Billion to strengthen its Android hand and patent portfolio. The deal should completed within the next four or five months.
This will be the first move into mobile hardware manufacturing for Google who currently control development of the open source Android operating system that has recently become the best selling mobile OS. Those companies currently producing Android powered mobile devices such as smartphones or tablets have recently been on the receiving end of lawsuits from Apple and Microsoft amongst others. Indeed it is rumoured that HTC currently pays Microsoft $5 per phone sold in a “licensing” agreement designed as a protection to litigation more than anything else.
With Google soon to be involved directly in this fight, as they will be producing Android smartphones continuing on from where Motorola Mobility is now, we should start to see these software patent fights taken to court. The purchase of Motorola Mobility not only pits Google directly against Apple and Microsoft, but will give Google a large patent portfolio relating to digital devices and telephony that will be useful in the legal battle that is likely to ensure.
Google has reiterated its stance on keeping Android open and free to use with Senior VP of Mobile Andy Rubin stating
Our vision for Android is unchanged and Google remains firmly committed to Android as an open platform and a vibrant open source community
Other Android partners such as Samsung have welcomed the deal as it will take some of the legal pressure off them, but they must now be concerned about the possibility of Motorola/Google phones getting Android features not available to other mere partners. As a number of these companies already offer Windows 7 phones, they may also be looking towards Microsoft as a more viable alternative than ever before – even if they are currently in bed with Nokia.