It’s been more than nine months since Google announced their intent to purchase Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion. Why the hold up? Governments from several countries had to approve the deal before it could take place. Nearly everyone said OK several months ago, but one country decided to play hardball and become a pain in Google’s ass: China. Over the weekend they finally decided to let the search giant buy the company that invented the StarTAC and the RAZR, but under one condition. Google had to agree to keep Android free and to let anyone use use it for the next five years. Considering that China’s largest search engine, Baidu, recently released a smartphone that runs a custom Android ROM with all of Google’s services replaced with Baidu’s equivalents, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see why China was so eager to make Google keep Android viable for another half decade. Anyway, expect to read an official press release announcing that the deal has been closed at some point during this week.
The bigger and more important question is what will Google do with Motorola after they’ve swallowed them up? There have been rumors saying Google will sell Motorola Mobility to a Chinese handset vendor, but there are also rumors that say Google is going to try and turn Motorola around. All we know is that Google is going to have to play an uncomfortable game of politics going forward because they’re now supplying software to companies that they also technically compete with.
And another thing, what’s going to happen all these patent battles once Google gets ahold of Motorola’s treasure chest of intellectual property? Will they magically disappear? Will companies have to stop paying Microsoft?
Expect Google to be pelted with these sort of questions at their annual I/O event next month. We’ll be paying attention to the language they use. It can’t be emphasized enough how important this company’s next steps are.