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Motorola's Identity Crisis

Soulskill posted about 3 years ago | from the coulda-just-bought-a-ferrari dept.

Businesses 135

An anonymous reader writes "An article at the NY Times discusses the awkwardness of Google's recent purchase of Motorola Mobility, an acquisition widely thought to be motivated by Android patent concerns rather than a more straightforward business plan. From the article: 'While industry analysts and insiders say the rationale makes sense, they also say it leaves Motorola in an unusual position. ... Heightening the uncertainty is that the companies involved, both of which declined to comment, are in some ways as different as two technology companies can be. Google makes Internet services and software, thrives on high profit margins and distributes its product using giant data centers. Motorola makes hardware, has modest margins on a good day and moves its products on trucks and airplanes and through brick-and-mortar stores. ... "It's like, thanks for everything you did in the 20th century, but you're being bought by a search engine," said Roger Entner, a telecommunications industry analyst and founder of Recon Analytics, a market research firm. He added, "Nobody ever buys a company and leaves it alone."'"

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Login to read article (3, Insightful)

mwsw (1011777) | about 3 years ago | (#37167534)

The only linked article is behind a login screen, which makes this post pretty useless since I suspect very few of us will bother to register.

Re:Login to read article (-1, Offtopic)

hehering (2443730) | about 3 years ago | (#37167550)

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Re:Login to read article (-1, Offtopic)

joneswob (2443732) | about 3 years ago | (#37167578)

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Ban (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37167910)

Ban this NIGGER !!!!! The entire IP range!

Re:Login to read article (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37167582)

Mobile version [nytimes.com] works for me.

Hundreds of framed patents hang on two separate walls at the headquarters of Motorola Mobility in Libertyville, Ill. They testify to the pride in innovation at Motorola, a luminary of American business that has survived corporate crises and enormous technological change.But the company has never grappled with something like this: a murky future governed by Google, a powerful master with unclear intentions.In announcing its planned $12.5 billion purchase of Motorola Mobility last week, Google emphasized its interest in the company's rich trove of 17,000 patents. That portfolio would allow Google to defend itself against foes like Apple and Microsoft in the legal arena, where billions of dollars in patent licensing fees can be indirectly negotiated through lawsuits and countersuits.But while industry analysts and insiders say the rationale makes sense, they also say it leaves Motorola in an unusual position. Many acquisitions are aimed at creating some well-articulated synergy between the two companies, but Motorola's future role in this union - beyond patent warehouse - is unclear.Heightening the uncertainty is that the companies involved, both of which declined to comment, are in some ways as different as two technology companies can be. Google makes Internet services and software, thrives on high profit margins and distributes its product using giant data centers. Motorola makes hardware, has modest margins on a good day and moves its products on trucks and airplanes and through brick-and-mortar stores.Some hope the cultures will fuse and lead Motorola to a future as storied as its past. Martin Cooper, 82, who worked at Motorola for 30 years and developed the first hand-held cellphones there, said he hoped great things would come from combining Google's momentum and confidence with Motorola's tradition of excellence in radio technology.

Re:Login to read article (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37167990)

The mere fact that I could not find the words "florian" or "mueller" anywhere in the article adds +6 credibility.

Re:Login to read article (1)

drb226 (1938360) | about 3 years ago | (#37167914)

all posts here are pretty useless since I suspect very few of us will bother to rtfa.

ftfy

Re:Login to read article (2)

Hatta (162192) | about 3 years ago | (#37168626)

After all these years the GNAA login still works. L/P: nigger/nigger. Not nice, but easy to remember.

Re:Login to read article (1)

HermMunster (972336) | about 3 years ago | (#37168862)

So, we have a pundit writing for a news rag that is assuming that Google doesn't know how to make up a business plan for their purchase of Motorola? And Motorola is going to be folded into Google? Nope. It will remain on its own.

Google knows what it is doing and certainly they know how to make a business plan. That's like telling a billionaire that he doesn't know how to make money.

Re:Login to read article (1)

dzfoo (772245) | about 3 years ago | (#37169018)

"Google knows what it is doing and certainly they know how to make a business plan."

Citation needed.

Re:Login to read article (1)

Bengie (1121981) | about 3 years ago | (#37168886)

It's NY Times, just disable javascript. That's what I've read anyway, haven't tried it myself.

But It Could Be An Amazing Mairrage! (3, Interesting)

Hardhead_7 (987030) | about 3 years ago | (#37167548)

I have a Droid X, and while I constantly curse at the locked bootloader and lack of customization compared to many other Android devices, I've actually found that it consistently gets better reception than my brother's Galaxy S (both on Verizon) and FAR better battery life.

AT the end of the day, the fact is Motorola has been doing great things on the hardware side of Android phones. The more I've used other's phones, the more I've come to realize how good my phone is, despite the hatred for Blur that permeates the Android websites. And Blur sucks, don't get me wrong. It's gotten better than it used to be, but it still isn't great. And while you can hide the UI all you want, the underpinnings are always there mucking things up. But Motorola hardware coupled with Google software? Yes, please! This could turn out amazing. With the vertical integration that Apple enjoys, Motorola/Google might be able to build a phone with the same start-to-finish polish as the iPhone, but much more open. I'm excited to see what will happen.

Re:But It Could Be An Amazing Mairrage! (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 3 years ago | (#37167612)

Amen to this. With the exception of my original RAZR* I have always been highly impressed with Motorola radios. I know that this is now and that was then, but I used to carry one of those green Motorola radios... used to drop it pretty regularly, too, on some railroad tracks. Well, usually not right on the track... Never managed to break it. Good design and serious materials and it was probably twenty years old or more when I was lugging it around. Sure, it tore some stitches out of my pocket but that's what happens when you work someplace too cheap to buy new slings. Motorola hardware is often pokey, and they seemingly always make inscrutable decisions regarding software... but as you say, this could address that issue.

* My RAZR V3i often got reception where other phones didn't, even some with an external antenna.

Re:But It Could Be An Amazing Mairrage! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37167734)

Most phones with an 'external' antenna did not actually use it. They where mostly just made out of plastic and simply there to make people feel better.

Re:But It Could Be An Amazing Mairrage! (3, Informative)

Lumpy (12016) | about 3 years ago | (#37167940)

Every single Nokia, audiovox, and motorla cellphone that I have owned that had an "external antenna" was a real antenna. Yes I know it was real as I took the things apart after retiring them for parts... Nokia phones are goldmines for Hacker parts.

Please list what ones had a "fake" antenna.

Re:But It Could Be An Amazing Mairrage! (1, Funny)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | about 3 years ago | (#37167792)

Google just bought Motorola mobile. I went on a date with this woman who had a Motorola Droid. It was impossible to talk to her because she was constantly texting and facebooking over her phone, looking up at me to smile and nod occasionally. She did it while we drove, she did it while we walked through the park, she did it at the dinner table and at the bar afterward, and she did it when we went back to my house.

Finally, I had enough. Seething with fury, I yanked the droid out of her hands and threw it at the floor. It landed with a loud "crack!" as bits of its shattered bezel and touchscreen flew all over the place. "You fucking bitch," I screamed at her, "you are dumb, dumb, DUMB!" I grabbed her by her shirtcollar and head-butted her until she fell backwards against the wall, where I had my way with her after she had lost consciousness.

The moral of the story is that it's rude to be on your phone while on a date...right, Susan?

Re:But It Could Be An Amazing Mairrage! (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 3 years ago | (#37168542)

If this is what ethanol fuel is like, I'll stick with Diesel Power.

Blows your mind...

Re:But It Could Be An Amazing Mairrage! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37167690)

Is "vertical integration" the new "synergy" buzzphrase of 2011? ...

Re:But It Could Be An Amazing Mairrage! (2)

JDG1980 (2438906) | about 3 years ago | (#37168400)

Vertical integration is nothing new, and it isn't just a buzzword. It has a specific meaning. Basically, if a company owns/controls most or all of the parts of its supply chain, it is considered to be vertically integrated.

Re:But It Could Be An Amazing Mairrage! (2)

MikeURL (890801) | about 3 years ago | (#37167794)

I really like my Droid X. It doesn't hurt that Moto pushed Gingerbread and then subsequently pushed a minor update to polish it off (just last week actually).

I'd love it if the GPS sensor/software worked better. Sometimes it just doesn't lock my location even though I have a clear line of sight to the satellites. But for a consumer phone it isn't bad. Add to all this the fact that the Google apps keep getting better over time and it makes for a good experience.

I like to contrast this to the first smartphone I had...the BB Storm. That...frankly I don't have enough cursewords and insults in my arsenal to describe the Storm. I am not the least bit surprised that RIM is circling the drain outside of its core business customers. They will never, ever get my consideration back unless I get a personal apology for that awful product they had the nerve to release on an unsuspecting public.

Re:But It Could Be An Amazing Mairrage! (2)

iamhassi (659463) | about 3 years ago | (#37167878)

It could be, but what gets me is the BS description:

Heightening the uncertainty is that the companies involved, both of which declined to comment, are in some ways as different as two technology companies can be. Google makes Internet services and software, thrives on high profit margins and distributes its product using giant data centers. Motorola makes hardware, has modest margins on a good day and moves its products on trucks and airplanes and through brick-and-mortar stores. ... "It's like, thanks for everything you did in the 20th century, but you're being bought by a search engine," said Roger Entner

Welcome to the 21st century, where your hardware is only as good as the software running on it.

2nd-init to the rescue (1)

eric_brissette (778634) | about 3 years ago | (#37168618)

There has been some really interesting stuff going on for the Droid X (and Droid 2) lately.

With the development of 2nd-init, it's now possible to run stock android, CyanogenMod, and MIUI, totally MOTOBLUR-FREE

More information:
http://cvpcs.org/blog/2011-06-14/2nd-init._what_it_is_and_how_it_works [cvpcs.org]
http://cvpcs.org/blog/2011-08-18/time_for_some_motorola_merging [cvpcs.org]
http://rootzwiki.com/showthread.php?t=1820 [rootzwiki.com]
http://rootzwiki.com/showthread.php?t=2222 [rootzwiki.com]
http://rootzwiki.com/showthread.php?t=531 [rootzwiki.com]

It would be nice not to jump through all of these hoops, and maybe soon we won't have to. But for now, this is as good as it gets for your Droid X. I'm partial to MIUI with ADW Launcher, it's a very polished ROM.

Paywall friendly link (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37167552)

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/22/technology/after-google-motorola-to-face-identity-crisis.html?ref=google&pagewanted=all

for one thing Google will have a hard time backdoo (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 3 years ago | (#37167556)

for one thing Google will have a hard time getting a backdoor into the cable industry by buying Motorola Mobility. The cable providers have a lot of power and are loaded with old boxes that can't even run any kind of new web based GUI.

Maybe they can push some change on the cell phone side.

Re:for one thing Google will have a hard time back (1)

MikeURL (890801) | about 3 years ago | (#37167842)

I was just thinking yesterday that it is amazing how little the cable boxes have progressed in the last 10 years. The hardware has gotten slightly better but the software functionality and interface has hardly improved at all. The Scientific Atlanta I have looks like it should be in a museum. The interface is like something from a badly done Atari game.

That is the reason I bought Google TV. I thought the Logitech would eventually provide a usable skin to the crap TWC interface. It didn't and I don't know why it can't. I'm guessing either Google got bored with the actual work of making interfaces for 100 cable networks OR the cable cos are actively fighting them.

Well... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 3 years ago | (#37167574)

Being purchased by a search engine might be a bit of a shock for people used to producing tangible goods; but I suspect that it beats being purchased by some M&A vulture capital group and chopped up into parts for resale...

Re:Well... (5, Insightful)

Anrego (830717) | about 3 years ago | (#37167754)

Both cases kinda piss me off to be honest.

The whole situation pisses me off. It's nothing specific against google. It's that companies are being bought not for their product, or customer base, or innovations, or capabilities.. but effectively for legal ammo to sue the shit out of other companies/protect themselves from being sued. The actual products (you know, the whole point of all this.. or what used to be the point) can atrophy and die for all anyone cares.. as long as they get their IP!

I know this isn't news to anyone at this point, but the whole damn system is broken.

Re:Well... (2)

drb226 (1938360) | about 3 years ago | (#37167936)

the whole damn system is broken

Welcome to the human race, also known as the rat race.

Re:Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37168342)

While that's true, I think Motrolla has an interesting future.

I had a cable box from my cable company, but I hated it so much I went back to my Tivo even though it costs more. The motorolla cable box took FOREVER just to change the channel, it couldn't transfer recordings etc. Of course despite having two Tivo's, if I want to record three shows, I can't tell one tivo to record them and have it talk to the other to ensure the third is recorded. MythTV has had that feature for a LONG time.

Even if you just look at the mobile business, Google could easily tell the engineers that this is a change to concentrate more on R to look at what's possible and patent the up-and-coming stuff for future protection and then to take the up-and-coming and provide practical, economical implementations. Google tries to have the "hip" culture and with Motrolla they purchased quite a bit of talent and could really turn them loose to further spur mobile development.

Re:Well... (2)

bonch (38532) | about 3 years ago | (#37168574)

Few people seem to be discussing this, but just this month, Motorola's CEO was publicly threatening to wage patent warfare [unwiredview.com] on other Android vendors. That would have been during the time they were under negotiation with Google, so I believe Motorola strong-armed Google into buying them outright for $12 billion rather than simply entering into a patent license agreement, by threatening to cause an Android civil war.

Some people were acting like buying Motorola was some great power play, but it was really an act of desperation that cost Google two years' worth of revenue [google.com] .

Re:Well... (1)

Tharsman (1364603) | about 3 years ago | (#37169088)

I do think Google was a bit blackmailed there, but Im also thinking this would had not happened if Google had not approached Motorola first expressing interest to buy. The public threat was likely more of a "pay what i want or i wont sell and do this instead."

Also there were many other ways Google would had been able to hurt Motorola back, like adding new terms to Android license that would terminate their ability to sell Android phones. That would had put Motorola in a position where they would be forced to go Windows Phone 7 though, and that would had been something Google also would had disliked (for another big name besides Nokia to go WP7 only.)

So yea, at the end of the day Google was blackmailed into paying more than they wanted.

Re:Well... (1)

Lifyre (960576) | about 3 years ago | (#37169440)

While this has merit and I think it was used to bump up the price that Google paid I don't think that a patent license agreement was what Google was looking for. While getting the hardware aspect of Motorola was probably secondary to acquiring the patent portfolio I think these two companies are a very good fit, at least on paper.

Google does software and generally does it pretty well. Google's forays into hardware have been weak at best and have shown there is no real aptitude there.

Motorola produces very good hardware but they are very weak on the software side because until recently they didn't need to be very strong.

The combination of Google's strong software team and Motorola's strong hardware team effectively compliments strengths of each other. Even if Google leaves Android "open", which I expect they will, it will start being better optimized for Motorola hardware because that is what will be the hardware it gets tested on first...

By the way you are completely wrong in your statement of two years of revenue. They had $29.3 billion in revenue in 2010. It ends up being about $3 billion less than their net income from 2009 and 2010. Google is a growth company, reinvesting their profits to expand the company is what they do.

+1 (0)

tomweeks (148410) | about 3 years ago | (#37168730)

+1

Re:Well... (1)

Tharsman (1364603) | about 3 years ago | (#37168988)

I agree but I actually have to admit I have something against Google, but not what many would think. This is a company that goes out complaining about IP warfare and has loads of money. What they do? They take their money and go out to buy IP Weapons...

WTF...

I know this alternative is not "moral", but how about instead using those billions to lobby senators and anyone with a sayso into abolishing and reforming stupid IP laws? You know the amount of legal change 12 billion in lobbying can buy?! It's not a nice thing off itself, but darnit, if Google is so "do no evil" and feel backed into doing "immoral choices", why dont they just go for the immoral choices that will have moral results instead of just joining the warfare and spilling more blood?

Re:Well... (1)

bberens (965711) | about 3 years ago | (#37169338)

It's that companies are being bought not for their product, or customer base, or innovations, or capabilities.. but effectively for legal ammo to sue the shit out of other companies/protect themselves from being sued.

Technically that legal ammo you're talking about *is* the innovations. At least in this case the innovations/patents are for actual hardware rather than mathematical formulas.

Re:Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37167768)

I think the people used to companies producing tangible goods are also probably used to generic vultures in suits buying companies for chop-and-sale jobs without a second thought...

Re:Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37167926)

Google has been one of the most innovative data-center companies, and sells plenty of hardware too. It's a bit short-sighted to call them a software-only company.

Re:Well... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 3 years ago | (#37168026)

The hardware that they let out-of-house is about the most boring 1U rebadge gear ever(in the case of their search appliances) and pretty prosaic netbook(in the case of their ChromeOS units); but their in-house work is indeed interesting...

Re:Well... (1)

bberens (965711) | about 3 years ago | (#37169356)

That's true. I hadn't considered that. Google is the 2nd or 3rd largest manufacturer of server hardware in the world.

My guess (3, Interesting)

Andy Dodd (701) | about 3 years ago | (#37167584)

Here's my guess of what happens:
Google buys Moto Mobility for the patents.
Google then spins off MM's hardware division, with a full license to the patents obtained, but with Google retaining ownership and control of the patents

That way Google gets the defensive patent pile without the negatives of competing with their licensees and entering the (less pleasant) hardware business.

Re:My guess (4, Informative)

alen (225700) | about 3 years ago | (#37167652)

and who will want to buy a cell phone maker with the only future of making me too phones like HTC does

Moto's problem is that HTC flooded the market with similar phones that have very minor differences. HTC Inspire, desire hd, droid incredible 2, my touch 4g, evo, thunderbolt. they are all either the 82655 or the 86655 qualcomm CPU's which are almost exactly the same with the same GPU's. everything else is minor differences. Moto had too few phones in the market place or made too many models with too many differences

Re:My guess (1)

Tei (520358) | about 3 years ago | (#37168238)

and who will want to buy a cell phone maker with the only future of making me too phones like HTC does

Moto's problem is that HTC flooded the market with similar phones that have very minor differences. HTC Inspire, desire hd, droid incredible 2, my touch 4g, evo, thunderbolt. they are all either the 82655 or the 86655 qualcomm CPU's which are almost exactly the same with the same GPU's. everything else is minor differences. Moto had too few phones in the market place or made too many models with too many differences

Well.. you post is absolutelly spot on.

It also show how patents, even of hardware, are useless stuff. Moto has not value whatsoever(to add to what the market already have), except the "I can sue you" thing.

Google can do a number of things, maybe change the company?, mobile computing is here to stay, is possible that Google is going to need a hardware company in the future, ...why no start now?

Re:My guess (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | about 3 years ago | (#37168550)

No other vendor is any different there.

Inspire, Desire HD, Dinc 2 - yeah, basically all the same phone, but for a critical and important reason - each carrier required a different radio baseband.

Same for Samsung - Captivate, Fascinate, Vibrant, Epic (I think the Epic was Sprint's GS variant...) - all Galaxy S phones, but each with different radios to suit their respective carriers.

Re:My guess (2)

GIL_Dude (850471) | about 3 years ago | (#37167988)

Some of us at work the other day were figuring on this exact scenario. Since Moto had recently been threatening other Android phone makers (who were also members of the open handset alliance) with patent lawsuits, Google saw that they could do a couple of things in one stroke:

- Get a patent war chest to help defend Android
- Neuter a company that was starting to threaten other Android licensees.

We'll have to see if we (and you) are right or not over the next 12 - 18 months.

Re:My guess (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37168158)

I wonder what would happen if Google started providing Android updates for ALL Motorola Android phones...
That would seriously f$ck with the market and move the seat of power even further towards the software companies iso the hardware.

Re:My guess (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37168424)

That makes no sense at all. Google bought a patent factory, one of the higher quality ones at that. Much simpler to retain ownership to guarantee licenses to the future stream of patents than try to craft some long term licence grant or risk losing the engineers actually creating those patents to competitors by crippling Motorola.

The most logical outcome here is a relatively hands off management structure, with strong chinese walls between Google and Motorola. They need just enough control to stop Motorola repeating their boot loader locking madness and excessive UI theming but no more. Any more control would trigger anti trust investigation and damage their relations with other OEM's.

Alternately getting out of the manufacturing business but retaining Motorola as a pure research division could work and provide even more tech to hand out to partners.

Its an outcome that has Microsoft and Apple FUDding for their lives with these hourly doomsday scenarios, hoping you won't think of it.

Re:My guess (1)

Belial6 (794905) | about 3 years ago | (#37168784)

I think the first approach is their best bet. If Motorola is profitable, let them continue to be profitable. It also gives Google the ability make sure there is at least some hardware made for whatever software they dream up.

Victor Kayam? (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about 3 years ago | (#37167606)

Nobody ever buys a company and leaves it alone

Victor Kayam? But then he really liked the razor.

Re:Victor Kayam? (1)

dzfoo (772245) | about 3 years ago | (#37169092)

Steve Jobs left John Lasseter and his team at Pixar much to their own devices.

          -dZ.

Long term, it is a good thing... (2)

mlts (1038732) | about 3 years ago | (#37167630)

Google pretty much had to buy out MM. That, or when Apple or MS buys them out, face an influx of patent lawsuits over everything Android.

However, what may be an issue are the two differing philosophies of the two companies:

Motorola's has been to lock down their devices in hopes of getting modders to go elsewhere. This makes people toss their phones when they can't run the latest apps and buy new ones.

Google wants to keep devices unlocked so they can push updates and show how consistent Android is.

Both of these are diametric opposites, because a locked phone that can't be upgraded looks bad for Android to an average consumer.

Now Google is in a pinch. They now compete against the same companies they are trying to woo to Android, and not go to WP7 or their own OS.

Google has four choices for the most part:

1: Sell phones by Motorola and compete against HTC, ZTE, and Samsung who may just get tired of Android and go completely WM like Nokia.

2: Sell MM, keeping the patents.

3: Spin MM off as a separate company.

4: Just shut down MM entirely.

Of all the choices, the most likely one is #3, as it allows Google to be "neutral" again.

Re:Long term, it is a good thing... (1)

Hooya (518216) | about 3 years ago | (#37167686)

My money is on #2.

Re:Long term, it is a good thing... (2)

Ngarrang (1023425) | about 3 years ago | (#37167770)

My bet is on option 1, not because of the "getting tired" portion.

Apple has shown that when you control the hardware AND software, you can do some wonderful things. Google can emulate that success by having a phone that makes the utmost use of the Android, while still providing Android to all of those other handset makers.

I call it hedging one's bet.

Re:Long term, it is a good thing... (1)

delinear (991444) | about 3 years ago | (#37168052)

It's interesting that Google already tried to do their own handset, albeit through a third party. Maybe there were areas that they felt could be improved if they brought all of that process in house and this is an opportunity to do that, in which case yes, option 1 might be viable. Of course, the danger is if they do too good a job, as GP said, the other companies might feel they can't compete (or maybe that Google has an unfair advantage) and look for an incentive to jump ship. If they don't do a good enough job, they'll be stuck with a pretty average handset manufacturing process which doesn't seem to be where they want to be.

Re:Long term, it is a good thing... (1)

Belial6 (794905) | about 3 years ago | (#37168956)

That problem is easily solved by pricing the unit so that it takes only the amount of market share that works in their favor. They can make the absolute best phones AND made sure that they didn't drive out the competitors. What would have been REALLY interesting is if Google had bought T-Mobile. Sure it is a little over 3 times what they paid for Motorola, but owning a nation wide cell network would have completely changed the cellular landscape over night.

Re:Long term, it is a good thing... (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about 3 years ago | (#37168536)

Android already does "wonderful things" when compared to Apple's approach.

Android is yet another version of Linux that doesn't need nor will benefit from blindly following Apple. It's far better to "think different" and actually represent a distinct choice that people choose for that distinctiveness.

Re:Long term, it is a good thing... (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 3 years ago | (#37167784)

1. would not be a risk. Nokia went totally WM for a payday. Windows Mobile/phone now has less market share than it did years ago, no one who wants to sell phones to make money will be going with it. MS will do what they did with the xbox, keep pouring money down a hole just to get some traction in the market.

Re:Long term, it is a good thing... (1)

drb226 (1938360) | about 3 years ago | (#37167970)

MS will do what they did with the xbox, keep pouring money down a hole just to get some traction in the market.

Worked pretty good for the xbox.

Re:Long term, it is a good thing... (2)

0123456 (636235) | about 3 years ago | (#37168110)

Worked pretty good for the xbox.

If by 'worked pretty good' you mean 'lost money on every generation while hoping that they'd actually make money on the next one'.

I'm 99% sure that Microsoft haven't made enough money on either Xbox to pay all the development costs yet?

Re:Long term, it is a good thing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37168442)

Since 2008 the windows entertainment division was making money. When you consider that div makes the zune, windows phone, and all things xbox it's pretty crazy to think about just how much xbox live, games and consoles must be raking in to offset the giant bombs that were zune and windows phone 6. IIRC one of the talking heads at MS declared that they would have recouped all their investment on the xbox way back in 2007, but they didn't actually hit that mark till mid to late 2008.

Re:Long term, it is a good thing... (1)

0123456 (636235) | about 3 years ago | (#37168578)

Since 2008 the windows entertainment division was making money.

And it was losing money for a long time before that.

And pretty soon it will have to find billions of dollars to fund the next Xbox. Which will initially have to be sold at a loss.

Re:Long term, it is a good thing... (2)

blizz017 (1617063) | about 3 years ago | (#37168524)

Last thing I read on it was from April in this article: http://www.businessinsider.com/next-xbox-may-be-profitable-on-day-one-2011-4 [businessinsider.com] Seems like the business segment containing Xbox is down 5.5 billion over its lifetime, but has been turning a profit for each of the last 11 quarters.. they may be down overall, but they're going to break even here pretty quickly; even more so if they decide not to go the hardware loss route with the next xbox.

Re:Long term, it is a good thing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37167916)

Patents aren't limited to the OS. Just think of what Moto have in their hardware arsenal. That alone will make aggressive soft-patent warmongers like Apple rather worried.

Re:Long term, it is a good thing... (1)

andydread (758754) | about 3 years ago | (#37168268)

The problem with #1 is that you insinuate that because Google purchased Motorolla it may drive the other Android manufacturers to give up their ability differentiate and to customize a phone OS and into the arms of Microsoft where Microsoft dictates the hardware down to the position of buttons on the phone. Possibly because the notion is that Motorolla would have an unfair advantage. Completely ignoring the relevant fact that Microsoft is giving Nokia preferential treatment with WM.

Re:Long term, it is a good thing... (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | about 3 years ago | (#37168510)

1: Sell phones by Motorola and compete against HTC, ZTE, and Samsung who may just get tired of Android and go completely WM like Nokia.

Except that WP7 is failing. I know that the magical Mango is doing to come out and make everything better not to mention that each phone will come with a free unicorn from Microsoft but it is floundering. HTC and Samsung are already making WP7 and I am not sure they are very happy about the state of WP7 or the new special relationship between Microsoft and Nokia.

2: Sell MM, keeping the patents.
Could happen but I do not see it. I guess they could sell it to ZTE like IBM sold it PCs to Lenovo.

3: Spin MM off as a separate company.
Maybe.
4: Just shut down MM entirely.
Not for a while.
I really doubt that Samsung and HTC are too worried. They both have done very well with Android and have been competing with each other and MM for a while now. Motorla Phones I hope will come with unlocked bootloaders and stock android. Honestly if the Photon 4G was stock android I would get it ASAP. If Google releases the OS to everyone at the same time I doubt that Samsung and HTC will worry too much. I am guessing that they will be involved with the development of Android much like they are now. The people that should worry about their jobs are the Blur team.

Re:Long term, it is a good thing... (1)

Belial6 (794905) | about 3 years ago | (#37169020)

#1 also fails when you consider that Google can just price their new super phones at a price that keeps them from wiping out the Android ecosystem. If Motorola has 30% of the Android phone market today, Google just prices their phones at a point that no more than 30% of the people buying Android phones will purchase them. The extra bonus in this is that solving it increase profit margins. The more people want Motorola phones, the more Google can increase their profit margin while maintaining the same market share.

Re:Long term, it is a good thing... (1)

Belial6 (794905) | about 3 years ago | (#37168878)

#1 would be a good option. Although if Google is smart, they will position themselves at the premier phone maker, and charge accordingly. Through proper pricing, they can keep the Android ecosystem in place and keep HTC, ZTE and Samsung happily selling units, just as they do now. At the same time, they can keep from having a race to the bottom on features. They can produce phones that show Android at it's very best. This will encourage other vendors to improve thier phones, while still leaving them plenty of space to sell cheap phones.

Basically Google can use Motorola to tell other vendors, "We are going to sell AWESOME phones at a price that is higher than you could sell a similar phone. You can take our market share on the high end AND sell stripped models on the low end." If the market pushes to the higher end, Google wins by improving faster than MS or Apple can hope to, and we see the same thing happen to MS and Apple that happened in the PC arena to Commodore, Atari and Apple.

If the market does not push to the high end, Motorola sells fewer phones at a higher margin, and Google gets to use high end phones for comparison with Apple and MS for marketing.

Of course, you missed #5. Let Motorola run exactly as it does now, but have access to their war chest of patents.

non pay-wall link (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37167632)

I believe this is the link on the article: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/22/technology/after-google-motorola-to-face-identity-crisis.html

Take the patents and spin off the company (1)

yog (19073) | about 3 years ago | (#37167646)

The patents are the only thing of value to Google. They don't need a hardware company and they probably shouldn't be in the hardware business. They should be encouraging a plethora of hardware manufacturers to make Android devices. The employees of Motorola are a stodgy, old-line engineering crowd, not really a good fit for Google. Overall it seems like a bad match except for the IP.

Maybe Google can prop up Moto Mobility just long enough to come out with a refreshed line of competitive handsets and tablets, and then spin them off to Nokia or Rim or some other phone maker who is eager to acquire an Android portfolio. Maybe not Nokia, actually, since they've pretty much thrown in their lot with Microsoft.

Everything "android" suddenly wrong (1)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | about 3 years ago | (#37167666)

Seems like there has been a lot of activity lately trying to put android/google in a bad light. Oracle vs. google, Apple vs. Samsung, Apple vs. HTC, to NYTimes pimping out negative views on Motorola acquisition. I don't agree with everything google does but it's not they are doing anything new from a monopoly standpoint. One of the aforementioned companies is even suing based on alleged evidence tampering which, IMO, should be getting much more attention than what it is.

Ericsson and Sony had this moment too (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37167714)

Ericsson and Sony had this moment too, but many years ago. The merger between former rivals' mobile phone divisions was a very distressful situation for all involved. Motorola is the latest to succumb to globalizations.

Steve Jobs did (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37167742)

"Nobody ever buys a company and leaves it alone."

Pixar.

Re:Steve Jobs did (1)

Belial6 (794905) | about 3 years ago | (#37169036)

Pixar always was a subsidiary of Disney. They just did the paperwork in a way that made it look like it wasn't.

Two Reasons (4, Interesting)

bhunachchicken (834243) | about 3 years ago | (#37167776)

I see two reasons for Google having bought Motorola.

The first, and the one that everyone is citing most often, is the patent protection that they can now give Android. I must say that I do find it sad that people are so keen to destroy free software. To businesses it is of course a threat, but when you see fanboys and girls jumping and down with glee at the legal actions being brought before the system, I can't help but shake my head. Not everyone wants or can afford to part with huge volumes of cash for an iPhone, a system that is so locked down you might as well be licensing usage of the thing from Apple, rather than own it yourself.

Second, and the one I've seen less talk of, is the ability for Google to have Motorla build them some flagship phones for Android. As much as I love my HTC Desire, there are several things that annoy the hell out of me

1. It runs Android 2.2. There is no easy way to upgrade it to 2.3.4 (or whatever comes out next), without either rooting or doing some other hacking. This needs to be fixed, as the average man on the street can't be stuck with a device for 2+ years because the manufacturer hasn't made enough provisions to allow the Android system to be upgraded (allowing for things such as better performance and better battery life).

2. The dreaded low internal memory issue. Seriously, who thought (and still thinks) that giving the users access to 128MB of internal storage would be enough? Sure, we can shove in an SD card, but if most useful apps refuse to move over, you're basically screwed. I've currently got 11MB free on the internal memory and over 20GB free on my microSD. This is bonkers. Hopefully, a Google phone would have at least 8GB internal and support microSD.

3. Open is both Android's best asset and it's main problem. Manufacturers and service providers not happy with Vanilla Android? Hack ten tons of irremovable shit onto the phone and tie it closely to the internal system so that it can't be removed. I'm not sure everyone out there wants Twitter and Facebook on their phones. But it's there and using up space that should be free to the user to do with as they please. Oh well.

So, here's hoping that Google will have Motorola create some flagship phones that address all the above. That would be the next phone I would buy.

Re:Two Reasons (1)

shugah (881805) | about 3 years ago | (#37167886)

The first, and the one that everyone is citing most often, is the patent protection that they can now give Android. I must say that I do find it sad that people are so keen to destroy free software. To businesses it is of course a threat, but when you see fanboys and girls jumping and down with glee at the legal actions being brought before the system, I can't help but shake my head. Not everyone wants or can afford to part with huge volumes of cash for an iPhone, a system that is so locked down you might as well be licensing usage of the thing from Apple, rather than own it yourself.

What is really sad about this whole patent war is that all of these companies are spending billions of dollars to acquire the rights to old, obsolete technology rather than on developing new innovative products. $12B for Motorola, $6B for Nortel's IP, more for Novel, etc., etc, this is not innovation.

Re:Two Reasons (1)

delinear (991444) | about 3 years ago | (#37168186)

2. The dreaded low internal memory issue. Seriously, who thought (and still thinks) that giving the users access to 128MB of internal storage would be enough? Sure, we can shove in an SD card, but if most useful apps refuse to move over, you're basically screwed. I've currently got 11MB free on the internal memory and over 20GB free on my microSD. This is bonkers. Hopefully, a Google phone would have at least 8GB internal and support microSD.

This is my single biggest bugbear with my HTC Desire. For everything else I've been really impressed with the phone, but the fact that I can only install a handful of apps (even ones that install to the SD card seem to want to leave some data on the phone, and some of the big ones, even Google's own, just don't give you the option) is a frustration. It means as apps come into and out of my circulation of usage I'm having to constantly juggle which ones are installed.

Re:Two Reasons (1)

vlueboy (1799360) | about 3 years ago | (#37168652)

Very informative thread. I'm looking for my first Android and didn't know that microSD ports are useless unless the Apps and stock bundles are designed with them in mind*

It doesn't help that the Desire only has 500MB RAM [gsmarena.com] (really, I'm surprised the rom is the same size). The funny thing is that even the Gingerbread update is almost 200MB. The file sizes of the Android updates on the HTC page have been ballooning, and it's curious that Android as owned by google has only been out since late 2008, and doubled in size. The HTC android updates page [htcdev.com] shows an alarming, trend, though not new:

Portable/embedded software continues to grow bloated at a pace that portable consumer hardware doesn't care to fix --compare to dd-wrt failing to fit in your tiny router's RAM.

* It resembles Windows devs who took a decade to learn coding guidelines that would finally stop trying to put config files in (now) read-only folders, have a modern "File open" call and use the "My Documents" folders... even longer for Apache to even ship with an installer fully supporting space-containing foldernames, so that it could finally be installed under "Program Files" --that feature wasn't there in 2005 and you got stuck with C:\Apache and would change that "at your own risk"

Re:Two Reasons (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37168686)

Ooops. Read "compare to dd-wrt failing to fit in your tiny router's RAM" as "compare to dd-wrt failing to fit in your tiny router's FLASH RAM."

Re:Two Reasons (1)

Emetophobe (878584) | about 3 years ago | (#37168302)

I bought a Google Nexus S a few months ago and I'm loving it. It's extremely fast, developer friendly, and the stock UI is very nice (I'm not a fan of the HTC or Motorola UIs).

1. Came with Android 2.3.3, got the 2.3.4 upgrade as soon as it was available. The only issue I have with 2.3.4 is the wifi/3g icons in the notification area grey out when they shouldn't (well known issue).

2. Has 16GB internal storage, but no sd card slot. 1GB is reserved for applications (I'm not sure why they put in that arbitrary limit when theres 16GB available). Still happy overall, I don't need an sd card and I prefer having the 16GB internal storage.

3. The Nexus S is about as open as you can get. It's extremely easy to root if you want that (I haven't bothered to since I'm happy with the stock firmware at the moment).

Hopefully Google opens up Motorola and we get to see more phones like the Nexus One/S.

Re:Two Reasons (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37168394)

"as the average man on the street can't be stuck with a device for 2+ years"

Well don't that just paint a rather pathetic picture of the Human Race...like the coke addict that can''t be stuck without his next hit for 2 days.

Re:Two Reasons (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37168708)

Hear! Hear!

MM can be used by Google to force some sense into Android phone makers and carriers who demand nonsense from those makers. Let's face it; all of their geegaws and "innovation" has only one goal in mind: to lock up the product as their exclusive property. Because of that, it will never be important that it actually works, only that it makes it exclusive. Stop it!

If Google uses their new Motorola Mobile acquisition to manufacture vanilla Android phones that I can customize to suit myself I will be one of the first in line.

point 2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37169314)

my phone of normal intelligence (Samsung UCH-450 aka Intensity) does have only 128MB of internal memory, but it works pretty smoothly with microSD cards up to 16GB. In most cases, fairly easy to select which to use as to default, and fairly easy to move already-created files between the two.
(Also, when the phone is connected to my PC, the card is recognized like any external drive, and can be used as such, making it easier to manage the contents, whatever they are - though as a practical matter, most of the space is occupied by my music collection.)

~KingAlanI

becoming standard business (1)

pak9rabid (1011935) | about 3 years ago | (#37167778)

an acquisition widely thought to be motivated by Android patent concerns rather than a more straightforward business plan

Like it or not, this is increasingly going to become standard business unless we get software patents under control.

As usual, analysists rely upon the 1st 4 (0)

Stumbles (602007) | about 3 years ago | (#37167832)

letters of their title ala; ANAL. So Google buying a hardware company doesn't make sense but oh I dunno, a software company like Microsoft buys hardware patents does....hmmm. This is nothing more than sphincter-ologists enjoying the smell of their own dirt road.

What uncertainty for Motorola? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37167858)

Unless I'm reading this wrong, Motorola still can make cop radios and chips, you know the giant set of tech manuals that accompanies the chips they manufacture. If you ask me, it's the mobile phones which will become vapor, not the chip manufacturer. It more sounds to me like Motorola just got out of the retarded mobile phone business. Outsourced it if you will. Say what you want about motorola, they have had some really bad times in the recent past few years, but remember this is a company kind of like the original Sears & Roebuck, a company in trouble again right now in recent years. What I am saying is these are companies if you are truly an American, you want to keep going.

About the sale... Why not, I ask. Who gives a crap about phones. When I come to Motorola, I am looking for parts, usually replacements finals lately, or a rugged mobile radio.
Not a line of smart phones with browsing and spying and app store interface!

Another thing Motorola has going for it, it can manufacture the chip itself, and so the chip can be more controlled and trusted (I would say, unless they changed something) from a USA point of view, it's an American company vs having to buy chips from a foreign country. On the other hand it makes Motorola a company which should maintain a responsible awareness of their actions, and not just say sell a crapload of tip top rf finals to countries who might be using them as weather weapons, or jammers to put down their country's legitimate dissent or spy people into a police state which ignores the constitution.

After the downfall of such upheaval, I would be one of the first to re-invest in the original Motorola. Fuck mobile phones.

Long road downhill... (1)

Moof123 (1292134) | about 3 years ago | (#37167912)

Years back they spun off their fab and semiconductor business to go "all-in" on the high growth of the cell phone world. I thing the top brass underestimated just how brutally competitive and cutthroat it would be. Their old businesses of semiconductors and high end radio systems had high margins, and relatively modest competition. While you can't say Motorola sucks at cell phones, they quickly became second/third tier players.

Same story as HP splitting off their legacy T&M business to concentrate on computers. Abandon a locked in high profit business in favor of higher growth, only to have things peter out with little backup plan. Meanwhile the split T&M business (Agilent) has managed to mostly shoot its golden goose, leaving previously loyal users pissed over low quality and foundering direction.

I'm sure there are many more, just sad to see the heroes of industry that you idolized back in engineering school turn into just another cautionary tale.

Re:Long road downhill... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37168010)

Yep, I agree. And I didn't say motorola phones suck, or didn't mean too, I said fuck mobile phones. hahah big difference. I idolize their tech manuals, yes, but it's more than that. I actually love their chips. LOVE...

okay?

The HP ppl turned to meth or something.. . lol

Quantity not quality (1)

frisket (149522) | about 3 years ago | (#37167918)

Google certainly didn't buy Motorola for its phones, which are among the crappiest on the market. Therefore it was for some other reason: either the patents (most likely) or the manufacturing capacity (unlikely: the product would need a complete redesign, which takes months) or some other corporate aspect which is well-hidden.

Nobody ever buys a company and leaves it alone? (1)

Thu Anon Coward (162544) | about 3 years ago | (#37167966)

"It's like, thanks for everything you did in the 20th century, but you're being bought by a search engine," said Roger Entner, a telecommunications industry analyst and founder of Recon Analytics, a market research firm. He added, "Nobody ever buys a company and leaves it alone."

oh really? Warren Buffett would be very interested to hear that.

but then again, those who can, do; those who can't.....criticize those who can

Now it is called (1)

drb226 (1938360) | about 3 years ago | (#37168008)

Googorola.

Re:Now it is called (1)

Daetrin (576516) | about 3 years ago | (#37168244)

Coming soon to SyFylis: Googorola vs Sharktopus!

Re:Now it is called (1)

dzfoo (772245) | about 3 years ago | (#37169194)

Or Motorooglerola.

      -dZ.

They have had a problem for a while (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 3 years ago | (#37168040)

Motorola did not know what they were doing or who they are for quite a while now. my first hint is when I had a brand new motoroloa phone, I dropped it once and its case shattered like glass.

For a company that used to have a reputation for making ridiculously strong products to magically forget that Bakelite sucks balls in 2008, is pretty fucking lost

"Nobody ever buys a company and leaves it alone." (1)

rolfwind (528248) | about 3 years ago | (#37168170)

Tell that to Warren Buffett.

Google + Motorola = good business. (1)

sageres (561626) | about 3 years ago | (#37168380)

I honestly believe that if Google is smart, they will allow Motorola to have a general autonomy over their business, but keep the ownership. Use the hardware facilities to manufacture new Android chip that would work great specifically for Android, or the most awesome tablet that would have built-in 3 / 4G and wireless adapters and much bigger battery life then anything out there on the market... Anyways the possibilities for what Google could ask Motorola to do are endless.

Value chain play (2)

sgt101 (120604) | about 3 years ago | (#37168520)

People can't match the iPad for price and performance because Apple are pulling money from the whole value chain - the complete user experience. They are not sharing margin with anyone with iTunes, iOS and the iPad.

Google wants the same end to end play and has the internet position and software to pull it off ... if it can get the right hardware made. This is all about getting the right hardware made, and getting it made in quickly.

This is a brilliant acquisition for them

As long as the patents go to OIN, I don't care (1)

daboochmeister (914039) | about 3 years ago | (#37168732)

If the Open Invention Network gets the patents, FTW and Google can do whatever they want with the company!!! Hopefully they DO intend to put the whole set of patents in the pool. THAT could change things.

Same old business dogma... (1)

Xeranar (2029624) | about 3 years ago | (#37168774)

These stories get old fast. Two companies that don't do the same thing merge and suddenly there is a culture clash. Well DUH. But the likely scenario is that the vast majority of the actual workers (i.e. useful individuals) will be left unscathed by the transition while the top level management will be gutted in favor of Google-appointed individuals. The article quotes vague "market analysts" to justify selling off vast swathes of Motorola mobility so that financial advisers can make huge profits out of what could be a great collaboration. Google could alienate HTC, Samsung, and most of the rest of the cell phone makers and still have android be on top simply because Win Mo 7 is eventually going to be costly. MIcrosoft has made it clear they make money off licensing and want to get their cut up front which is the antithesis of Android where they take nothing off the top.

The story is half-baked by financiers and the same old MBA's turned journalists. What sounds like sound advice and knowledge is really a limited understanding with a healthy dose of dogma thrown in for good measure. I admit I like google a great deal but to argue they need to sell off Motorola in pieces to appease the other manufacturers is ludicrous. They have a small market share (2.4% according to the article) so any rise for them from google's deep pockets would be fine and create competition within the market for better phones.

Nobody ever buys a company and leaves it alone (1)

DinDaddy (1168147) | about 3 years ago | (#37169008)

Well. I'd argue Disney came close with Pixar. Although their current and upcoming sequel happy roster may give the lie to my statement.

Here's a plan... (1)

odirex (1958302) | about 3 years ago | (#37169348)

1) Buy HP's WebOS division since they seem keen on dumping it.
2) integrate the good parts of WebOS and Android.
3) put it on hardware that doesn't suck a fat one.
4) compete with apple like you actually mean it.
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