As a large company, Google is purchasing smaller companies all the time. Most of the time, these purchases never make the news. However, today's is one of the few exceptions, because the company Google purchased is a large and important one: Motorola Mobility.
Many of you may be wondering why Google would buy a company that makes kiosks, barcode scanners, and two-way radios as well as smartphones. The answer to that question is simple: they didn't. They actually purchased Motorola Mobility, a company split off of Motorola in January. As the name implies, this company focuses on mobile devices, or to be more specific, they focus on Android devices.
In case you don't know, Motorola has been an important Android partner since almost the very beginning. They were a founding member of the Open Handset Alliance, which helped develop Android, and although HTC manufactured the first Android device, Motorola's Droid was the first high-end Android flagship. More importantly, it was the device that put Android on the map for average consumers. It was also one of the only devices which offered an unmodified Android experience, which is a distinction usually left to the Nexus line of devices.
Since the Droid, Motorola chose Android as their only OS for future smartphones. Some of the fruits of this decision include devices such as the Droid X, Photon 4G, Droid 2 and 3, Atrix, and many others, most of which have enjoyed moderate success. Thanks to this success, it makes sense that Google would want to acquire the company, and use them to release premier Android devices as well as research new ideas.
Contrary to what many seem to think, this does not mean that Motorola Mobility will now be under Google's direct control. The company will still be run as its own entity, and only take a few important instructions from Google. In fact, the next Nexus device may not be made by Motorola, as Google says they will take all manufacturers into equal consideration. Still, this arrangement should be beneficial for Google as it gives them an outlet for hardware development, which they had been lacking up until now.
What many people think is the real reason for this purchase is patents. Google has been fighting against the likes of Apple, Microsoft, and RIM in ongoing patent battles which threaten the freedom of Android. As a software company, Google only held a measly 576 patents, which in comparison to the 24,500 granted and pending patents of Motorola Mobility certainly seems minuscule.
These new patents should allow Google to more effectively defend both the Android platform and even other Android manufacturers such as HTC and Samsung (both of which are currently being sued by Apple) from lawsuits. Google would still have their work cut out for them lawsuit-wise, but especially considering they lost their bid for the Nortel patents to companies including Apple and Microsoft, having a few extra patents around wouldn't hurt.
At this point, Motorola can still back out of the deal if they want to. For now, though, that seems unlikely, especially since Google agreed to pay a 50% premium on Motorola's closing stock price. The only real thing standing in the way of the completion of this deal is government approval. It seems likely that this deal will go through, but even if it does it could take a while, so we may not see the effects of this deal any time soon.
Personally, I hope the deal does go through, as I think it would be beneficial for Android as a whole, smartphone consumers, Motorola, and even other Android manufacturers. What do you think of the purchase?[Official Google Blog via. Reddit]