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Google To Acquire Motorola Mobility For $12.5 Bill 578

zacharye writes "Google and Motorola Mobility have announced an agreement whereby Google will acquire Motorola for $12.5 billion. The acquisition price equates to $40 per share of Motorola stock, or a premium of 63% over Friday's closing price. The move is considered to be an effort that will better-align Google to compete with Apple's iPhone, which currently owns two-thirds of profits among the world's top-8 smartphone vendors..." That's one way to stop royalty payments.
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Google To Acquire Motorola Mobility For $12.5 Bill

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  • is it just me (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 15, 2011 @08:44AM (#37093056)

    Or did shit just get real? :-)

    • by nharmon ( 97591 ) on Monday August 15, 2011 @09:04AM (#37093256)

      I dunno, did you just multiply the wave function by its complex conjugate?

    • Re:is it just me (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Lev13than ( 581686 ) on Monday August 15, 2011 @10:34AM (#37094310) Homepage

      Depends on what you think the "shit" is. Some people are saying it's hw/sw integration, and others are all about patent trolling. In reality, this is part of Google's effort to strengthen its position in eCommerce, specifically mobile and POS payments.

      Put an RFID chip in every phone and you instantly get an EMV-compliant card replacement and an EMV-compliant card acceptance point. Forget all that Square magstripe bs - this would be the real thing. Combine it with Google Wallet and you have an end-to-end solution where anyone can make or accept payments via their phone. With Google controlling the hw and the sw they can set the standards. To make it even more interesting, think of what would happen if/when Google buys MasterCard.

      Go ahead with this and you'll have every taxi driver, flea market, convention booth and convenience store in the country with cheap access to payments issuance and acceptance. Now move that model to Africa and the Middle East. The future of mobile isn't handsets - it's payments.

    • by jelle ( 14827 )

      For completenes, the xkcd link:

      http://xkcd.com/849/ [xkcd.com]

    • by bonch ( 38532 ) *

      Antitrust regulators must be chomping at the bit. This is old-school Microsoft behavior. Imagine how other Android smartphone vendors are feeling right now.

  • by Xest ( 935314 ) on Monday August 15, 2011 @08:45AM (#37093060)

    I read this on the BBC and I have to admit, I didn't see this one coming!

    At least we know now why Google didn't seem too bothered about winning the Nortel patents. This gives it a serious cell phone patents battle chest, and a manufacturer of decent tablets and handsets to boot.

    The question is, if it's going to be Google owned, will this mean Motorola devices will be opened up as up until now they seemed to be the most locked down Android devices. Judging by the openness of the Nexus One etc. I'd imagine and hope this will be the case!

    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Monday August 15, 2011 @08:59AM (#37093204) Journal

      The question is, if it's going to be Google owned, will this mean Motorola devices will be opened up as up until now they seemed to be the most locked down Android devices. Judging by the openness of the Nexus One etc. I'd imagine and hope this will be the case!

      That will be interesting: I suspect that it will tell us whether the locked bootloader nonsense is actually a carrier demand(and, if so, a carrier demand that they want to stick to, or one that they'll bend on with a touch of pressure) or whether it was a 'hardware companies would prefer that software upgrades be accomplished by hardware replacement' problem...

      Obviously Google doesn't want to lose money on their new hardware division; but it seems pretty unlike them(and poor strategy in the face of Apple's relentless hardware/software integration) to play nickel-and-dime software lock upgrade drive games to eke out a few extra handset sales at the expense of customer satisfaction and overall success of Android and the various web services that Google actually makes their money on.

      On the other hand, if handset locking is some sort of carrier fetish(that they are only willing to make limited exceptions to, for the occasional flagship device), we might not see much change. Google's attempts to crack the carriers through direct sales have been underwhelming in their success so far, and Apple's sales number suggest that Joe Public isn't clamoring for an unlocked bootloader... At least Google is unlikely to cruft up stock Android too heavily.

      • by GIL_Dude ( 850471 ) on Monday August 15, 2011 @09:14AM (#37093388) Homepage

        At least Google is unlikely to cruft up stock Android too heavily.

        True, but looking at my new Droid 3 from Motorola - Motorola didn't cruft it up much. They put Blur and Motoprint on it. Verizon crufted the hell out of it. Enough to make me get my rant on here about it: http://gildude.blogspot.com/2011/08/call-to-action-for-verizon-and-motorola.html [blogspot.com]. Of course, if we just get rid of Blur and maybe the locked bootloader that will be enough of a win. But it would be great to get back to Google Experience Devices that don't have all the carrier garbage on them to begin with.

        • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Monday August 15, 2011 @09:34AM (#37093622) Journal
          I've never been quite sure if Verizon's cruft actually manages to make them enough money to make up for the universal loathing of it, or whether there is a deeply-frustrated 3rd-rate graphic designer embedded somewhere high in their structure who takes out his rage at his own failings by forcing them on the world...

          They've got pretty much the best US cell network, which gives them a strong position to sell voice and data contracts at aggressive prices, why do they have to puke all over the devices that connect to it?
      • I am okay with carrier demands if they really are subsidising a product as long as it's possible to by the same product unsubsidised and unlocked.

        Hopefully Googorola* will try to open things up -- *we* need this as at present phone OS's aren't being updated by the manufacturers or the carriers quickly enough, and I'd imagine Google must be a bit concerned about the security implications of this?

        * Googorola | Motoogle | Motogoog | Gotoogla
      • by Andy Dodd ( 701 ) <atd7&cornell,edu> on Monday August 15, 2011 @09:31AM (#37093574) Homepage

        I keep seeing people claim that locked bootloaders are a carrier demand... When this is clearly NOT the case.

        Across ALL carriers, at least in the United States:
        None of the Samsung Galaxy S line have locked bootloaders. (Tab 7s may be mildly locked?) The exception is the Galaxy Tab 10.1 line, which actually has randomly locked bootloaders for the non-carrier-distributed wifi version. (Don't know about the Verizon LTE variant). Even then, the bootloader locking is fairly minimal. The closest to "bootloader locking" I've seen in a Samsung Android phone is locking out flashing alternate bootloaders (Infuse 4G), but never a bootloader that locked out flashing any kernel or userland you wanted.
        A small number of HTCs came out locked in early 2011 - HTC quickly reversed this decision after user outcry. The locked phones were distributed across multiple carriers.
        Nearly all Motorola Android phones are locked down, regardless of carrier.

        Motorola may claim it's the carrier - but if you look at the trends across carriers vs. trends across manufacturers, the trend CLEARLY follows the manufacturer and not the carrier.

    • Hopefully, they will unlock the Evo 4g and other older devices since Motorola seems to only be willing to unlock newer devices (and lock down the older devices right before releasing the newer devices.)

    • Supposedly the Photon 4G comes with an unlocked bootloader [popherald.com], and I suppose it's well known that Motorola already promised that their future phones would be unlocked [engadget.com]. So, yeah. It'll be interesting to wait and see.

      • by Andy Dodd ( 701 )

        They made that promise in April and then...

        Oh wait, the Droid 3 (released months later) is locked!

    • [...]and a manufacturer of decent tablets and handsets to boot.

      I was wondering if the Motorola tablets are also produced by Motorola Mobility (the part Google acquired). I couldn't find anything in the press release other than Motorola Mobility being a "leading manufacturer for smartphones" ... which may or may not include the tablets.

      • by Xest ( 935314 ) on Monday August 15, 2011 @09:47AM (#37093790)

        I actually made an assumption there, but you have a good point. I Googled Motorola mobility though, and got this:

        http://www.motorola.com/Consumers/GB-EN/Home [motorola.com]

        The page title says:

        Motorola Android Mobile Smart Phones and Tablets - Bluetooth Accessories - Home Video Networks - Motorola Mobility, Inc. United Kingdom

        So it looks like it does include tablets. But what I didn't assume was the other things it appears to include:

        http://www.motorola.com/Consumers/GB-EN/Consumer-Products-and-Services [motorola.com]

        I didn't even realise Motorola produced some of these things, but could it mean we'll see Google SatNavs, Google Car Kits, Google Cable/DSL modems, Google DVRs, and er, Google Baby Monitors?

        I'll be intrigued to know if Google discontinues some of those less relevant lines, but this is kind of exciting if you're a fan of Android, because if Motorola does DVRs, SatNavs and Car Kits too then Google may well be planning to extend Android into the car and living room with a bit more seriousness than previously the case. It looks like Motorola Mobility has it's fingers in all the pies a tech company might want to be able to produce a full lifestyle ecosystem encompassing home, and travel (god, I feel like I just spat out some sales speak there, excuse me whilst I go vomit).

        I've always wanted to be able to just add things to my calendar on my tablet in the kitchen, then walk into the living room and use it to display TVs listings to tell my TV what to play, or to choose some content from my fileserver to stream to the TV, then set it to play some music. Then when that's done, walk out to my car and automatically have my car continue playing whatever music I'd previously set playing on my TV, and when I reach my destination have my phone take over that playlist as I put my headphones on and plug them into it. Obviously you can kind of do all this now, but it requires some serious hackery, and is far from being a pleasant, seamless, system. You need to really know what you're doing.

        Let's face it, it's the future, it's just waiting for someone to take a serious stab at it. Will Google make an attempt at that now that they've got the hardware base to go with their software division? I'm hoping so!

        The only thing we'll need then is for it to be standardised so that you can buy a product from any manufacturer whether it's an iPad or a Playbook,a Xoom, or a Tab and have it integrate into such a system. Okay, well, maybe now I'm REALLY asking too much ;)

    • http://www.sprintusers.com/forum/showpost.php?p=2585760&postcount=13 [sprintusers.com]

      we shoulda bought Moto stock then...

      posted 8/8/11:

      Originally Posted by monkeyboy
      I didn't see anyone say yet, but Moto *is* well endowed with patents for wireless technology, so it may be that in the end, Moto could gain an upper hand in this battle (relative to other Android makers).
      Originally Posted by sfhub
      MMI has about $6b market cap. Google was willing to pay $6b for Groupon which is just a glorified coupon company. What

  • Of the android phone makers, Motorola is one of the two best. I'm glad Google went for them instead of Samsung... *shudder*

    Hopefully that means there will be Motorola android phones on Sprint.

    • by JamesP ( 688957 ) on Monday August 15, 2011 @08:53AM (#37093152)

      They may be great phone (hw) manufacturers, but in terms of software they are very, very incompetent, including wasting time on 'customization' that only bother the consumer and refusing to release updates (while Cyanogenmod runs circles around them)

      I absolutely DON'T trust any of them to write a single line of code. Yes, I know how these companies operate.

    • Of the android phone makers, Motorola is one of the two best. I'm glad Google went for them instead of Samsung... *shudder*

      Hopefully that means there will be Motorola android phones on Sprint.

      Google went for Motorola (at least in part) because Samsung's phone business is some ten times bigger, and even the mighty GOOG isn't able to bite off that much at this stage of the game.

    • There already are Motorola Android phones on Sprint. The Photon 4G, XPRT, Titanium, and i1 on Sprint proper. The Triumph on Virgin Mobile.

      The revolution will be mocked [cafepress.com] from the sidelines.

  • by Arch_Android ( 1989386 ) on Monday August 15, 2011 @08:49AM (#37093102)
    Most seem happy enough.
    • by dwater ( 72834 )

      notice anyone missing?

      • Samsung, HTC, LG and Sony Ericsson are there and they're the biggest Android manufacturers. Erm....ZTE, maybe? Is it anyone important?

    • Yeah well, what are they gonna say ? "Shit, we're screwed." might have kind of a negative impact on the stock price.

    • For a second I thought I was watching Jon Stewart do another montage of politicians doing the "stay on message, offer the same sound bite they gave us in our talking points memo" shtick. Then I remembered these were future competitors of Google.

  • patent shield (Score:5, Informative)

    by tero ( 39203 ) on Monday August 15, 2011 @08:50AM (#37093110)

    From the Google press release:

    We recently explained how companies including Microsoft and Apple are banding together in anti-competitive patent attacks on Android. The U.S. Department of Justice had to intervene in the results of one recent patent auction to âoeprotect competition and innovation in the open source software communityâ and it is currently looking into the results of the Nortel auction. Our acquisition of Motorola will increase competition by strengthening Googleâ(TM)s patent portfolio, which will enable us to better protect Android from anti-competitive threats from Microsoft, Apple and other companies.

    Motorola and Nokia are the two leading patent holders within mobile business, so this is potentially a very good opportunity for Google to use that portfolio as a litigation shield and helping to keep Android (litigation) free.

    • by tcr ( 39109 )

      Just looked at the Motorola site. They have 24,500 patents granted and pending in 2G, 3G, 4G, H.264, MPEG-4, 802.11, NFC.

      With the codec ones, there could be some benefit for WebM too....

  • Royalty payments. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Alex Belits ( 437 ) * on Monday August 15, 2011 @08:51AM (#37093122) Homepage

    That's one way to stop royalty payments.

    That's also one way to keep OTHER PHONE MANUFACTURERS from extorting royalty payments.
    If only that also worked against Microsoft...

    • Actually this will work directly against Microsoft. Unlike Google which gives away Android, Microsoft sells Windows Phone OS. This means that Microsoft is economically liable for patent infringement damages if Google chooses to litigate, and the ITC could rule specifically against windows phone OS instead of having to target phone manufacturers (Google partners in this case). Obviously the goal here isn't to sue Microsoft, although it may come to that, the goal is to use the threat of litigation to get them

  • Lawsuits like apple's, per device patent indemnification like microsoft are gonna be more fun (at least for google)... and average joe developer.

  • Hardware vs Software (Score:3, Interesting)

    by CaptainLard ( 1902452 ) on Monday August 15, 2011 @08:53AM (#37093154)
    So now that Google has all of Motorola's patents on 2G,3G,4G, (the hardware side) and apple has all those patents on user interface (software side), are we going to be seeing an epic east Texas showdown that results in every new smartphone requiring TWO huge additional licensing fees getting passed on to the consumer?
    • by gbjbaanb ( 229885 ) on Monday August 15, 2011 @09:09AM (#37093320)

      I can see the patent battles now:

      Google: we have patent "using radio waves to provide mobile telephony".

      Apple: we have patent "making something in a rectangular shape with 1 button and rounded edges"

      I still think all the vague patents need to be scrapped, but that won't affect any of the new Google "real invention" patents they've just acquired.

    • ...are we going to be seeing an epic east Texas showdown...?

      Nah, probably Apple will introduce their own awkward communication "standards", and Google will implement their own awkward user-interface principles. Subsequently, the universe will split in two halves and everybody has to choose sides or be sucked into the vacuum thus formed in between.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 15, 2011 @08:53AM (#37093156)

    Google is poisitioning itself to get more involved in the patent fights:

    "Our acquisition of Motorola will increase competition by strengthening Google’s patent portfolio, which will enable us to better protect Android from anti-competitive threats from Microsoft, Apple and other companies."


  • by G3ckoG33k ( 647276 ) on Monday August 15, 2011 @08:54AM (#37093164)

    Battle of the Apes, and Ballmer not invited?

    Seriously, this will make some interesting monkey business.

    It is of the same importance when Microsoft decided to jump on the hardware wagon too, through the Xbox. A lot of analysts were surprised but not overly surprised. Google, being a software only until now, doing the same as Microsoft seems natural.

    • by mwvdlee ( 775178 )

      Google already had some hardware too; the Nexus, chromebooks, their cheesy servers. But admittedly nothing quite on the scale of Motorola Mobility.

      The articles are quite confusing though, sometimes saying Google bought Motorola, other times stating Motorola Mobility. As I understand it, this is indeed only half of Motorola. Though the Mobility half also includes many non-mobile and non-consumer products. Wonder what Google will do with those products which are of no obvious strategic importance to Google.

  • Are they buying just Motorola's cell phone division or does it also include Netopia (they make DSL/Cable modems).

  • by Grizzley9 ( 1407005 ) on Monday August 15, 2011 @09:03AM (#37093250)
    We all know this is about the patents. But as Motorola Mobility is not Motorola Solutions, I'm curious to see what patents they actually got or if there are still a lot with the company Motorola Solutions. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motorola [wikipedia.org]
  • They'd win the Poker World Series. This is a winning hand to show, after all of the recent moves and relatively quiet action regarding the patent battles. Dont buy into the consortium, play victim and complain about others destroying android, then buy Motorola (and their 17000 patents).


  • Motorola made android popular again just when everyone thought it was a complete failure. Heck everyone throught motorola was a complete failure after android. This is a good match.

  • you know what this means.... Google gets to collect a royalty payment for ever Windows phone sold which means that ... ah. $50 additional revenue for Google.. ok, err.. lets move on to the next comment please.

  • Microsoft (Score:5, Interesting)

    by akirchhoff ( 95640 ) on Monday August 15, 2011 @09:19AM (#37093432)

    This will probably force Microsoft to buy Nokia outright. As much as they would like to just collect license fees, they need a vertically integrated platform.

  • google stocks will rise again, and again, and again

  • I wish Google would buy the Motorola Symbol division so we could see Android on their industry leading mobile computers (ie barcode scanners). The embedded Windows CE / Windows Mobile on those devices is garbage.

  • "Our Mobile Devices business segment will have approximately 14,600 granted patents and 6,700 pending patent applications, worldwide. Our patent portfolio includes numerous patents related to various industry standards, including 2G, 3G, 4G, H.264, MPEG-4, 802.11, open mobile alliance (OMA) and near field communications (NFC)." ( http://www.motorola.com/Consumers/US-EN/About_Motorola/Technology/Approach [motorola.com] )

    Given that Google's number of patents was previously estimated to be around 700 something, this is a hug

  • They bought the handset business, not the other, older parts of Motorola. I'm just saying.
  • http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/08/13/036203/Motorola-To-Collect-Royalties-For-Android [slashdot.org]

    Considering that Google didn't just wake up and said "I think that I will buy Motorola today", this article now makes perfect sense. I suspect that Google will be even more closed about Android since they are now an OEM.
  • by WindBourne ( 631190 ) on Monday August 15, 2011 @09:50AM (#37093840) Journal
    The US DOD is studying using smart phones for troop communications. Having all the smart phones produced in China makes ZERO sense. Instead, Google can approach DOD and cut a deal that they will bring back manufacturing to the USA if DOD will buy their phones. WIth that approach, and throwing in automation, Google can have 10% of their phones being bought by the DOD. That lowers prices a great deal.
  • I reckon by 2013 Google will either be making all Android hardware, or none of it.

    What will the other manufacturers making Android handsets think about this? Who would license an OS from a company which also manufactures directly competing hardware and sells it on a large scale? There was broad dissatisfaction with the Nexus One, and that was just one handset. Clearly Google are most interested in the patents (to fight against Apple, Nokia, Microsoft et al) but is that worth destroying the partnership with other companies? Maybe they think they can go it alone.

  • by jonwil ( 467024 ) on Monday August 15, 2011 @10:01AM (#37093944)

    Things Google should do that will benefit both Android users AND Google:
    1.End all deals between Motorola and Microsoft/Yahoo to make Bing or Yahoo the default search engine on Motorola Android phones. Restore Google as the default search engine on these phones. Good for consumers who get full Google apps on all Motorola android phones and good for Google because they get more people using Google search and more eyeballs for Google ads.

    2.Start unlocking bootloaders on all Motorola phones. Good way to make tech geeks love your phones and recommend them to all and sundry. (think about how much community support the first Droid got because of its unlocked bootloader vs how much the first Milestone with its locked bootloader got)

    3.Throw away all your legacy phone platforms and standardize on Android for mid to high end phones (including anything with a web browser, email client etc as well as any phone that would have had a Java VM if it was based on a non-Android OS stack). Bring in a simple cheap new OS for dumbphones that dont have web browsing, Java or data connectivity.

    Good for consumers (since they get more Android phones at the market points that used to be occupied with mid-high-end featurephones like the RAZR) and good for Google since they save money by abandoning work on a whole bunch of code from the various legacy OSs (including web browsers and Java VMs)

    4.Threaten to use the combined Google+Motorola patent portfolio against Apple products like the iPhone and iPad unless Apple stops suing Android vendors. This is good for Google since (if Apple does the deal) it means less risk of being sued over Android and less patent royalties that would need to be paid. Good for consumers since patent royalties increase the cost of devices.

    Even better would be for Google to create an Android defensive patent pool. Anyone working with Google on Android (including HTC, Samsung, Dell, LG etc) would be able to join the pool with any mobile device/OS/etc patents they want to contribute. Google would contribute relavent patents from the Google pool plus whatever the new Motorola pool has. Any Android vendor that is sued over an Android handset gets to use the entire Android patent pool as a counter-attack.

  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Monday August 15, 2011 @12:36PM (#37095874) Homepage

    That's sad. Motorola was once a great company. They were the only electronics company to successfully transition from tubes to transistors to ICs. They once made the best microprocessors; the 68000 series was way ahead of its time. (If the MMU for the 68000 hadn't been years late and badly designed, the whole PC world would have been powered by 68000 machines.)

    But the semiconductor business was spun off as Freescale years ago. After giving up commercial mobile handsets, this leaves Motorola making police radios and related niche items.

I've finally learned what "upward compatible" means. It means we get to keep all our old mistakes. -- Dennie van Tassel