Yesterday Google announced it was buying Motorola Mobility because “Microsoft and Apple are a bunch of big meanies who have made us get out hands dirty in this filthy, filthy patent business.” That may not be a direct quote.
Not that the real quote is much better.
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.
So, when the Macalope says “Welcome, Google. Seriously.” he means welcome to the patent wars and the hardware wars. As Phillip Elmer-Dewitt notes:
As Motorola has discovered with its Droid smartphones and Xoom tablets, selling Android devices in Apple’s shadow is a cutthroat business, with tough competition and razor-thin margins.
Enjoy! Of course, even if they get into the phone business they won’t be in the phone business. No, they’re in the search and advertising business. They want to show you ads. And if you happen to have a nice user experience, whatever, meat sack. You’re the product they’re selling to advertisers.
This acquisition will probably be devastating to Apple as not only will Google now find out the secrets of the ROKR, it’ll also control the iPad-killing Xoom (4G upgrade now coming in September which is Indian summer so just shut up, shut up, shut up!).
Matt Drance suggests Motorola cleverly talked up the asking price by threatening to move to Windows 7 and use its patents against other Android OEMs. One does wonder how paying $12.5 billion for patents that are no silver bullet is a better deal than just contributing to the $4.5 billion acquisition of the Nortel patents. Motorola was already a subject of a lawsuit from Microsoft that it’s not having much success in getting reduced.
Presumably, though, Google did its due diligence and verified that these patents are all of the non-bogus variety. There’s nothing worse than getting home from a day of splurging on patents and unwrapping them to find they’re all bogus. What a letdown that is.
In retrospect, Google’s whining about the unfairness of Microsoft and Apple’s suits was probably a setup for this deal. Google wanted to make sure it gave itself enough cover for its patent binge which makes the whole tantrum even more pathetic, unless you’re Dan Lyons who finds the whole thing brilliant. The Macalope thinks he’s probably right about Larry Page’s motivations, but he’s more with MG Siegler, this was not some brilliant aikido move as far as the patents are concerned, anyway.
The real winner in this? The Macalope suspects it’s Microsoft. While the other Android OEMs dutifully delivered their Google-authorized, Android license-retaining words of praise for the deal with all the enthusiasm of Lando Calrissian telling Darth Vader he doesn’t feel he’s being treated unfairly, their next call was probably to Redmond. If Microsoft were smart they’d have a sale on Windows Phone 7 OEM licenses this week.