Thanks google for defending android
There’s no denying that Google’s maneuver this morning to acquire Motorola for $12.5 billion in cash is remarkable. Everyone is talking about every possible angle of the deal, as they should. The summertime is usually the doldrums when it comes to tech news. Not this year. Google is pulling off an acquisition that is larger than any that Microsoft, Apple, or any of their other main competitors ever have. Larry Page, wartime CEO. Larry Page, maverick.
As the resident Apple enthusiast around these parts, many of you want my take on this — and many of you probably don’t want my take on this, but will end up reading it twice as much as those who do. But don’t worry, I’m not going to go all Dan Lyons and immediately run my mouth without thinking. I actually took the entire day to think about this, read over the insane amount of coverage (though I didn’t get through even half of it), and form some thoughts.
But my main thought is the same as my initial one: this is either the smartest thing Google has ever done, or the dumbest. There is no in-between.
Bravo Google, well played.
Many people seem to be tripping over themselves trying to explain why this is not just about patents. Okay, yes, there are some interesting potential side effects of this deal, such as in the broader consumer electronics space. Motorola could help Google turn around the disaster that has been Google TV. Motorola makes a huge percentage of the set top boxes that the cable companies use to push their over-priced content at you. And those cable boxes are absolute pieces of shit. But they’re highly profitable pieces of shit. While Google TV is a nightmare, it’s still a considerable upgrade from almost all set top boxes. The two sides could help each other here.
Or it could be a case of two wrongs making a very big wrong. We’ll see.
Google’s acquisition of Motorola today either just saved Android or subverted it. It was either brilliant, or really, really stupid. Unfortunately, the truth is that we simply won’t know the answer for a while.
But credit where credit is due, Google just did something decidedly un-Googley. On paper, as a math equation, you never do this deal. The upside is potentially high, but there’s way too much downside potential. A $12.5 billion deal in cash, with a $2.5 billion collapse clause? Who are you and what did you do with Google?
But as I’ve argued for months, Google has been in need of a wake up call. They needed something to shake them out of a state of malaise. With this Motorola deal, they just got something. It won’t make them any new friends, but this is business, not personal.
And it is a shit-ton of patents.