As announced yesterday evening by Google CEO Larry Page himself, Google and Lenovo signed an agreement to sell Motorola for US$ 2.91 billion. As this is an important move for Android users everywhere, Page explained in Google's own blog that Google acquired Motorola back in 2012 to help "supercharge the Android ecosystem by creating a stronger patent portfolio for Google and great smartphones for users". According to Page, Motorola has done a tremendous job reinventing the company over the past 19 months by focusing on building a smaller number of great (and great value) smartphones that consumers love. Both the Moto G and the Moto X are said to "doing really well" and Page is very excited about the smartphone lineup for 2014.
On the intellectual property side, Motorola's patents have helped Google to create a level playing field, which is good news for all Android's users and partners.
However, Page also said that the smartphone market is super competitive (surprise) and to thrive it helps to be all-in when it comes to making mobile devices. It's why we (Google and/or Page) believe that "Motorola will be better served by Lenovo - which has a rapidly growing smartphone business and is the largest (and fastest-growing) PC manufacturer in the world". That said, this move will enable Google to devote its energy to driving innovation across the overall Android ecosystem, for the benefit of smartphone users everywhere but Page also said as a side note that "this does not signal a larger shift for Google's other hardware efforts". The dynamics and maturity of the wearable and home markets, for example, are very different from that of the mobile industry and Google is still excited by the opportunities to build amazing new products for users within these emerging ecosystems.
Last but not least it was mentioned that "Lenovo has the expertise and track record to scale Motorola into a major player within the Android ecosystem. They have a lot of experience in hardware, and they have global reach" and it was said that Lenovo intends to keep Motorola's distinct brand identity - just as they did when they acquired ThinkPad from IBM in 2005. Not part of the deal are the even more important patents which Google will retain - or at least the vast majority of Motorola's patents - which Google will continue to use to defend the entire Android ecosystem.
As always, this deal has yet to be approved in the U.S. and China, and this usually takes time. So until then, it's business as usual.
It's an amazing move forward for Lenovo. After they purchased the PC business of IBM, which virtually invented the PC, the Chinese number one now takes over the inventor of the handheld mobile phones as we know it today; the company which also invented the police radio and brought the NASA to the moon (in terms of communications). But it's indeed a clever and necessary move for Lenovo. Since the PC and even Laptop business is struggling, and many established companies in this area are facing serious problems, like Intel, Dell, HP and even Microsoft, Lenovo is preparing for a mobile future where it hadn't to contribute anything to - at least not outside China.
Cheers ~ Arne