Google’s purchase of Motorola Mobility was all about the patents. Just as shopping at Prada is all about the necessity to own something that is black 🙂
If Google suddenly wants to be like Apple, what does that mean? Does it mean that its Motorola will produce beautiful Android phones for which people will pay an arm, a leg and a couple of days of their lives standing in line?
In my opinion, Google now has the means to compete with Apple directly, which is the only reason it purchased Motorola and its patents. I don’t think Android will become exclusive. I think the charm of the brand has always been its openness and availability for all. It has a simplicity that has won over diehard fans.
I believe Google will keep Android as an open platform for multiple handset manufacturers. However, they are likely to reserve some special features for their own Motorola hardware.
So far they seem to have a hybrid strategy. Apple goes it alone, controlling the hardware and software for their devices to provide a terrific, bug-free experience. Microsoft doesn’t make PC hardware, but licenses the software to lots of manufacturers.
Some of the problems that users face with Android phones are due to the large number of Android OS versions out there, as well as the various hardware designs of their licensees. Now Google will be able to control the entire experience, like Apple, but will still try to appeal to third party manufacturers, like Microsoft does.
Some people expect some of the 3rd party manufacturers (e.g., Samsung, HTC) to either develop their own OS or move to Microsoft’s new mobile OS, if Microsoft can finally get its act together in this space.
Now I’m wondering, just as everyone else is I think, now that every big cell phone brand has aligned itself with a bigger parent brand, what will happen to lonely RIM?
I don’t think Google is trying to compete with Apple on hardware. They bought the patents to avoid patent litigation, mostly. I think they become the leading social marketing conglomerate, and losing Android, or having to pay royalties as a result of losing patent suits would have endangered their ultimate plans.