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Rumor: Google May Sell Motorola Unit to Huawei

By - Source: The WAll Street Journal | B 22 comments

Selling Motorola Mobility after its acquisition would be just silly, but that's the latest rumor.

Unnamed sources from Asia are claiming that Google has already offered to sell Motorola Mobility to China-based Huawei Device at a high price. The news arrives as Google and Motorola wait patiently as China decides whether the $12.5 billion purchase will violate the 2008 Chinese Anti-Monopoly Law even though the acquisition has been given the green light by Europe, the United States and South Korea. That said, Google really can't sell anything until China gives the thumbs up too.

So why purchase Motorola only to sell off its hardware division thereafter? To gain its patents. There are 17,000 of them which could help protect Google's Android from a legal assault from the likes of Apple, Microsoft or some other patent trolls. This move would also help manufacturers defend themselves against the same patent sharks seeking to gain a wad of money while discrediting Google and those who follow it.

Yet having an in-house manufacturer would mean that Google could produce its own smartphones and tablets without having to out-source Google Experience Devices to other manufacturers. Recent reports suggested that such a plan is already in the works, that Google will release a new branded tablet once the initial smaller one produced by Asus hits store shelves later this year.

But there seems to be a great disturbance making waves through the Android community thanks to Motorola. Reports claim that many manufacturers don't want to bow down to Google's ways, and intend on releasing Android devices with a customized Android OS. They're uncertain about the Motorola acquisition and fear they will come second. The "forking" of Android -- as seen with Amazon's Kindle Fire -- could only cause even more fragmentation, thus pushing developers to solely work on iOS as it would be cheaper, easier.

While Google doesn't charge manufacturers to use Android, the search engine giant makes its money through advertising on the OS. What Google doesn't need is to make these manufacturers mad to the point of total Android anarchy. That said, this is why Google would consider selling off the hardware business to Huawei while retaining the patents: to still the restless yet loyal natives.

"Compared to what Google does, the smartphone business has horrible economics," says Bernstein analyst Pierre Ferragu. "The reason to buy Motorola was to strengthen patents. Now they have that, the logical thing is to sell the rest."

Google reportedly denies talks about selling the handset business when the Motorola acquisition is completed. Unnamed sources in Taiwan's handset industry are also refuting the rumor, saying that Motorola has a complete product lineup covering smartphones, tablets and set-top boxes. Even more, Motorola has long-term cooperation relationships with wireless carriers and cable TV operators -- relationships that are instrumental in getting Android into the office, the living room and even the kitchen.

Unnamed Taiwan sources also speculate that there's no need for Google worry about manufacturers abandoning Android just yet despite reports of several considering in-house operating systems. Android commands the majority of the mobile market and doesn't seem to be slowing down anytime soon, which in turn means a nice chunk of change for handset makers using the free open-source Android OS. Still, that won't stop these manufacturers from brewing up their own flavor of Android which could be bad for Android customers and developers alike.

As for pumping out its own hardware, Google using an in-house Motorola to produce a Google Experience Device should be no different than using an external Motorola to produce the same product as seen with the XOOM tablet. Google's hardware focus will likely zero-in on products like Google TV and the just-revealed Project Glass augmented reality specs while leaving Motorola alone to do its own thing.

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  • 7 Hide
    vaughn2k , April 17, 2012 10:56 AM
    If it would make mobile phones cheaper and better than the ones out there, I am fine with it.
  • 2 Hide
    CKKwan , April 17, 2012 11:15 AM
    Who ever by Motorola Hardware without any patents will be a real nuts!
  • 9 Hide
    southernshark , April 17, 2012 12:20 PM
    Let me re-write this article.

    "Google might sell Motorola after acquiring its patents, or it might not."
  • -5 Hide
    lamorpa , April 17, 2012 2:05 PM
    Whoever bye Motorola hardwares with out any patent will be reels nut!
  • -4 Hide
    nebun , April 17, 2012 2:12 PM
    Android got stale very quick...can't wait for something better...what a joke of an mobile OS...apple here i come, please make the iphone 5 worth while
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , April 17, 2012 2:17 PM
    this article is as it simply states - RUMOR. nothing else, nothing substantive.
  • 6 Hide
    lamorpa , April 17, 2012 2:27 PM
    nebunAndroid got stale very quick...can't wait for something better...what a joke of an mobile OS...apple here i come, please make the iphone 5 worth while

    ...or at least make the iPhone correct elementary school writing mistakes like when someone writes "worth while" when they mean "worthwhile"
  • 1 Hide
    freggo , April 17, 2012 2:42 PM
    lamorpaWhoever bye Motorola hardwares with out any patent will be reels nut!


    Exactly! After the patents have been stripped you end up with a warehouse full of manufacturing equipment designed to manufacture stuff you no longer have the patents too. Also the Chinese are not known to loose much sleep over patent issues :-)
  • -3 Hide
    averoth , April 17, 2012 3:49 PM
    lamorpa...or at least make the iPhone correct elementary school writing mistakes like when someone writes "worth while" when they mean "worthwhile"


    Is that anything like people who write run on sentences missing punctuation? Maybe you should practice what you preach.

    As far as the article goes... this is all speculation at the moment. However selling Motorola minus the patents would make sense. Also Google could sell Motorola's hardware division with a license agreement to use the patents.
  • 0 Hide
    Murissokah , April 17, 2012 4:44 PM
    vaughn2kIf it would make mobile phones cheaper and better than the ones out there, I am fine with it.


    I would support that, but it is unlikely. It worries me that manufacturers are considering in-house development of their own android versions. That would greatly sacrifice stability and scare away developers who might be considering the platform. Let's hope these companies can work it out and keep android a solid, unified platform.
  • 0 Hide
    dotaloc , April 17, 2012 4:51 PM
    averothIs that anything like people who write run on sentences missing punctuation? Maybe you should practice what you preach.As far as the article goes... this is all speculation at the moment. However selling Motorola minus the patents would make sense. Also Google could sell Motorola's hardware division with a license agreement to use the patents.

    "Run-on," I think, is the proper usage, since we are correcting.
  • 0 Hide
    cknobman , April 17, 2012 5:42 PM
    LMAO @ all the grammar police in here.

    As for Android the whole ecosystem is becoming a bigger pile of sh!t every day between fragmentation, carrier and manufacturer skins and bloat, poorly written apps, poorly optimized OS, etc.....

    Now that my HTC EVO 4G contract is up I am waiting to see if Sprint comes up with a decent Windows phone (cant do data-caps I use too much so need to stay with Sprint).
  • 2 Hide
    lamorpa , April 17, 2012 6:24 PM
    cknobmanLMAO @ all the grammar police in here.

    When your righting words, peephole will under stand there meaning if their are more write ones then wrong.

  • 1 Hide
    averoth , April 17, 2012 8:07 PM
    dotaloc"Run-on," I think, is the proper usage, since we are correcting.


    Touche, good sir...
  • 0 Hide
    nebun , April 17, 2012 8:09 PM
    lamorpa...or at least make the iPhone correct elementary school writing mistakes like when someone writes "worth while" when they mean "worthwhile"

    thanks....lol...you want to know something?...people like you, make the world a better place...thanks for your help :p 
  • 0 Hide
    lamorpa , April 17, 2012 8:29 PM
    nebunthanks....lol...you want to know something?...people like you, make the world a better place...thanks for your help

    Do you include your original baseless negative comments about the Android OS as part of this making the world a better place, or do you feel that negative comments to be your singular domain?
  • 0 Hide
    kronos_cornelius , April 18, 2012 1:27 AM
    I don't understand why more choice is bad for consumers. What is really bad for consumers is paying a higher markup for the same hardware as it happens with Apple devices.

    I don't understand this bias.

    Amazon's kindle fire is an Android device. And forks are good for customers and developers. Do you complain about there being dirt bikes, mopets and racing motorcycles ? Would you like better to have an iMotor Cycle that is clearly good at no niche? Phones can be specialism for niches too. Open you mind and use your megaphone to educate people, not confuse them.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , April 18, 2012 4:01 AM
    I dont understand the issue of OEM forking android like Amazon ..where are the apps/content/services for this fork to successful. Amazon has it own content to support fire, hence it is successful. Android OEMS's HTC, ASUS, even samsung are only hardware manufacturers and not content providers. It is really difficult for the android OEM to provide whole ecosystem. It is easy to make phones/tablets but to sell them you need content for which they have to depend on google.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , April 18, 2012 2:56 PM
    If Google dumps Motorola and China picks it up - I dump Google.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , April 18, 2012 6:11 PM
    When your righting words, peephole will under stand there meaning if their are more write ones then wrong.


    Hukkd on Fonnex werkedd fer ewe two I sea
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