Well, that didn’t take long: Less than three years after Google bought Motorola Mobility, the home of the Razr, they’ve unloaded it onto Chinese laptop manufacturer Lenovo for a quarter of what they paid for it. But why did Google sell so cheaply… and why is that a good thing for Android?
Google was pretty terse about the news: This generally gets some sort of blog entry, but instead, they just dumped the news in a press release:
…Lenovo plans to acquire the Motorola Mobility smartphone business. With a strong PC business and a fast-growing smartphone business, this agreement will significantly strengthen Lenovo’s position in the smartphone market. In addition, Lenovo will gain a strong market presence in North America and Latin America, as well as a foothold in Western Europe, to complement its strong, fast-growing smartphone business in emerging markets around the world.
It doesn’t sound like Google is excited, but what’s notably missing from the announcement is that Google is keeping a lot of Motorola Mobility’s patents. While the company has shown a desire to build its own hardware before, really what they were concerned with was not fighting everybody in court over who owns the concept of sliding your finger across a screen to get at the home menu.
And it worked: Android’s market share is up to 80% as of last year. True, Apple makes more money off of building handsets, but that’s not really Google’s problem, and likely part of the reason they unloaded Motorola in the first place.
The second reason is that it calms down some of Google’s hardware partners, notably Samsung, which has agreed to stop forcing its useless and unwanted apps on consumers. They no longer have to worry about the people coding their operating system competing with them for hardware sales, which means we can forget about ill-conceived ideas like Tizen.
Of course, now it’s up to Lenovo to deliver Android phones people want to use. But, hey, Google doesn’t care as long as they can sell you apps.