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

Mar 012012

I don’t know what Google was thinking when they made Motorola a $12.5 billion offer. The company hadn’t made any money since the original RAZR, its patent portfolio was largely tied to FRAND restrictions and they had nothing to do with Google’s business model. But to his credit, Sanjay Jha pulled it off. I wonder how many strip club trips it took. I bet it was a bunch.

It’d be one thing if Moto was just a bad purchase, the kind of searing red-ink entry that Microsoft used to make every other week. But Motorola tried to prove their worth by going after Apple using some of their FRAND patents in Germany, but had that effort brought to a halt. Because of the shady nature of the FRAND attack, Motorola is also garnering some attention from the EU courts on anti-trust grounds.

As if that embarrassment wasn’t enough to induce a little buyer’s remorse, Apple just won an injunction against Motorola based on its photo gallery patent after having won a judgment just 2 weeks prior for its “slide to unlock” patent. The hits just keep on coming.

Google made an announcement this week that it would place a “firewall” between itself and Motorola, with Android chief Andy Rubin stating ““I don’t even know anything about their products, I haven’t seen anything”. It’s always a good sign the person who should know the most about the fruits of an overpriced acquisition (well, the ones you can’t sue people with) goes on record about his ignorance of their value.

Worst. Acquisition. Ever.

Aug 162011

Now that the market has had a day to digest Google’s ambitious $12.5 billion bid for Motorola Mobility Holdings, Inc., what do they think?

Ewww. At least analysts are still behind the stock…oh.

Screw those S&P bastards anyway. They downgraded our country’s debt rating for the first time in history. WHY DO THEY HATE AMERICA?!

Another person you don’t hear from on the acquisition: Eric Schmidt. I wonder how he feels about the kids busting into the liquor cabinet 10 minutes after he left. He should have marked the bottles.

Aug 152011

Unless you’ve been enjoying an extended conjugal visit, you’ve read that Google made a $12.5 billion bid for Motorola’s hardware group, known as Motorola Mobility. You may remember Motorola as the company that made the RAZR 10 years ago, only to be left sucking on a tailpipe as a generic Android licensee ever since. Analysts think this is primarily about acquiring Motorola’s patent portfolio, which contains somewhere north of 10,000. I don’t know what else it could possibly be about, given that Google has never run a tech hardware business – a pretty mediocre one at that  – and has no intention to start.

Motorola is one of several major shartphone manufacturers to have a partnership with Google for their Android phone OS, so you’d think there might be a little friction when one of the litter is suddenly brought into direct contact with The Tit. But you wouldn’t know it by what these companies had to say about the move. But beneath the thin veneer of a cut-and-pasted Mountain View press release lies the truth. Let’s try and filter out what these hardware executives are really trying to say:

“We welcome today’s news, which demonstrates Google’s deep commitment to defending Android, its partners, and the ecosystem.”– J.K. Shin, President, Samsung, Mobile Communications Division

“We thank our deities that someone may possibly step in and keep Apple from having our devices banned in every country on the planet.”


“I welcome Google‘s commitment to defending Android and its partners.” – Bert Nordberg, President & CEO, Sony Ericsson

“I green-lighted an Android phone?”


“We welcome Google‘s commitment to defending Android and its partners.” – Jong Seok Park, Ph.D, President & CEO, LG Electronics Mobile Communications Company

“Did we green-light an Android phone?”


“We welcome the news of today‘s acquisition, which demonstrates that Google is deeply committed to defending Android, its partners, and the entire ecosystem. -Peter Chou, CEO, HTC Corp.

“I bet if we were to insert some more words between ‘Google’, ‘Android’, ‘defending’ and ‘partners’, we could sound less like the other 3 guys.”


As you can see, Android’s manufacturers have been as successful differentiating their statements from each other as they have been differentiating their shartphone offerings.

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