Google’s Motorola Acquisition Is About Android

By May 23, 2012

Search giant Google closed a deal Tuesday to acquire consumer electronics developer Motorola, Inc., in a bid to reemphasize the company’s commitment to Android, a popular mobile operating system in which Motorola has already invested heavily.

“[A]s a company who made a big, early bet on Android, Motorola has become an incredibly valuable partner to Google,” wrote Google CEO Larry Page, in a blog post announcing the sale.

The Motorola acquisition has been in the works since at least last summer, when Page wrote that buying the manufacturer would help Google “supercharge” Android. He emphasized that Motorola would not receive special privileges, though it is not clear how the company intends to enforce that commitment.

Image: Redrum0486 CC-BY-SA 3.0

“This acquisition will not change our commitment to run Android as an open platform,” Page wrote. “Motorola will remain a licensee of Android and Android will remain open. We will run Motorola as a separate business. Many hardware partners have contributed to Android’s success and we look forward to continuing to work with all of them to deliver outstanding user experiences.”

At the time, Page also praised Motorola for having banked on Android early, and said that he was “thrilled” at the success the company’s smartphone line had seen with the operating system. He connected decision to the company’s technological legacy, noting that the company had built the first cell phone, the DynaTAC, in 1973.

The acquisition comes at a delicate time for the Android ecosystem, with tepid adoption of the newest versions of operating system and a wide variety of available hardware frustrating developers. Just weeks ago, Google announced they would shift strategies for the upcoming Android release, Jelly Bean, giving a number of manufacturers advance access to the system instead of choosing one key partner.

Page has reportedly given Google insider Dennis Woodside the position of Motorola CEO, replacing Sanjay Jha. That may – or may not – be a snub aimed at smartphone competitor Apple, which once tried to hire Woodside away from Google.

Motorola separately confirmed that the deal had been finalized for $40.00 per share in cash, and promised that the deal would “enhance competition” in the mobile industry.