I was amazed like many to read today that Google had purchased Motorola for $12.5 Billion. Its a massive acquisition for Google, and its one that may have caught many by surprise. Its no secret that Google sees mobile as a big part of its future however the acquisition of a mobile hardware player puts Google in direct competition to many of its partners such as HTC and Samsung. In particular I would suggest HTC in particular could feel a bit akward at this latest development.
Lets face it, one of the reason that Google Android has such a big market share is that established phone partners such as HTC and Samsung were early adopters of the platform – as well as Motorola. However with their supplier of platform now a major competitor this may make for a couple of uncomfortable moments in the Google camp. Further to that, should Motorola continue to take market share from the other two, one can only assume this may make a potentially fraught situation even more so. When you look at it like that its a strange situation.
On the flip side of that, one may argue this may provide Google/Motorola with a more than capable alternative to the iPhone phenomenon. Google’s initial foray into the mobile marketplace has led to a slightly fragmented platform. A single provider could provide a viable alternative to the Apple platform and when coupled with the integrated communications platform that is Google + there is a really nice mobile offering starting to take shape.
I would also add that Microsoft have already started developing their Windows phones using HTC hardware which may be one of the reasons why the HTC giant wasn’t considered. With Samsung a well established multi-hardware developer this may suggest this may be another reason why Motorola was a fairly obvious choice.
However, the purchase of Motorola presents its own issues. At last count Google had around 29000 employees. Motorola has around 16000. Google has just significantly increased its size and with that brings its own problems. The marketplace is also one that Google has not actively played in, and is a huge difference to the three horse race we see in search. That itself creates a cutthrough environment in which the new enterprise will either sink or swim.
Much of whether this proves to be a successful acquisition may ultimately come down to Motorola themselves. Lets be honest they have hardly set the hardware sector alight, however with a strong relationship with Google and their increasingly impressive communications platform in place, this may actually give them a reason to develop a handset that is ultimately a viable competitor to the iPhone.
I personally have to say, I can’t see this being the amazing success. However if one blogger is right, this may not be about Google getting a foothold in the hardware sector at all – and more about just securing the Android platform moving forward. If its left to the hardware I would suggest we aren’t likely to see much of a bigger dent in the market….