Google Inc. announced today that it will acquire Motorola Mobility Inc. for $12.5 billion dollars. Google, who has gone from humble beginnings as an experimental search engine to basically swallowing the internet whole has agreed to acquire the consumer electronics maker in what is its largest acquisition ever.
Of course, Motorola Mobility is not to be confused with the Motorola that makes police radios and other such stuff. This company is actually a spin off from Motorola, Inc. and was formed in January this year from Motorola's Mobile Devices division. And quite unlike "Ma Batwings" MMI has not seen spectacular performance, declaring a 2nd quarter loss.
With this acquisition comes lots and lots of goodies, including several patents. In fact, some are speculating that this is the very reason that Google has decided to acquire Motorola Mobility. Important for Google especially is that Motorola's product line includes a large number of cable set top boxes, a perfect opportunity for Google to do something interesting with its Google TV platform. In fact, CEO Larry Page said, "I think there's an opportunity to accelerate innovation in the home business by working together with the cable and telco industry" which does seem to hint that Google TV could be making its way into cable set tops.
But it goes way beyond that. As some (notably Apple CEO Steve Jobs) have been saying, we are now entering the post PC era, where people are increasingly substituting tablets and smartphones for PCs. Google's Android platform has been been absolutely smoking with half a million Android devices being activated per day. Owning a hardware manufacturer could be a golden opportunity for Google to build the perfect Android device, a synergy of hardware and software much like Apple's iPhone, iPad or even Macintosh line of computers. But will Google want to get into the hardware business?
Some are saying that Google simply wants to own more and more intellectual property and couldn't care less about becoming a hardware manufacturer. It has been gobbling up companies left and right, ranging from small startups to established players such as Doubleclick, in a quest for their inventions and trade secrets.
Either way, it seems as though Google has plenty to gain from this acquisition. Now if only Microsoft would play catch up and do something useful instead of trying to name everything "Windows." Speaking of which, I'm sure Nokia, HTC, Samsung and others are looking hard at Windows phone and other platforms in the event that Google does decide to go all Apple on them, despite assurances to the contrary.