Apr 112012

The Wall Street Journal posted an article last night about Google’s awesome $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola and raised the obvious question: what the hell is Google going to do with a company that actually makes (shitty) things (poorly)?

I’ve spent the last three weeks talking to people inside Motorola and Google and out, trying to solve the riddle. The disquieting answer is that there appears to be no sense that a choice is even required. There’s only a cocky belief that Google really can be all things at once: a hardware company with software margins, and a neutral Android arms dealer that just happens to be building its own Motorola army on the side.

If Google is serious about Android, it has to sell Motorola. Even though you wouldn’t know it by looking at some of their handsets, Android manufacturers aren’t stupid. Every month that Google keeps Motorola is a month these manufacturers are going to evaluate their other shartphone platform options more seriously. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if one of the more aggressive manufacturers like Samsung just outright “pulled an Amazon” and forked Ice Cream Sandwich themselves.

$12.5 billion for Motorola. Andy Rubin claims he doesn’t even know what they’re going to build; Larry Page says he’s “excited about the opportunities.” There’s only one clear winner here.

Ladies and gentlemen: the President of the United States

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