Patents, mobility drive Google's $12.5B Motorola bid

Google’s $12.5 billion bid for Motorola Mobility puts the search engine giant on a competitive collision course with Apple, Hewlett-Packard and the new Microsoft-Nokia alliance in the burgeoning world of mobility.

The acquisition, approved by the boards of both companies, shows the growing importance of mobility to Google as more computing tasks shift to handheld devices, the San Jose Mercury News reports.

Google also is picking up a wealth of intellectual property that includes 17,000 patents and 7,500 pending patents. The company also is picking up one of the largest manufacturers of mobiles phones and tablets using Google’s Android operating system.

Google executives pledged to keep Android an open platform, CRN reported

"We built Android as an open source platform and it will stay that way," Google CEO Larry Page said Aug. 15 during a conference call.

Page said there are 150 million Android devices from more than 30 manufacturers. The Motorola acquisition will only “supercharge the Android ecosystem,” he said.

Google quickly lined up other manufacturers who blessed the deal, including Samsung, Sony Ericsson, HTC Corp. and LG Electronics, the Los Angeles Times reported.

However, there are some skeptics. Citi analyst Mark Mahaney wondered if this is the best use of Google’s cash, reports Tech Crunch

Patents are the big driver, according to Christina Warren on

Several sources are reporting that the large number of patents will allow Google to fight off patent attacks on Android, the New York Times reported.

Google says it will run Motorola as a separate business unit. The deal is expected to close by the end of 2011 or early 2012, following regulatory approves in the United States, Europe and elsewhere.

About the Author

Nick Wakeman is the editor-in-chief of Washington Technology. Follow him on Twitter: @nick_wakeman.

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