Ten Questions About Google Buying Motorola

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So will any Android device companies dump Android, or at least de-emphasize it?

Betcha that they’re all assessing their options right now–and that some of them are looking at Windows Phone, the most significant mobile operating system that won’t be owned by a hardware company, in a new light.

How does Apple feel about this?

Can you believe that it was only two years ago that Eric Schmidt was on Apple’s board? This makes Google into Apple’s archrival in a way it never was before. Google will now make phones and tablets, and you’ve got to think that there will be Android-powered TV boxes and other devices that compete with various parts of the Apple empire. This is the most important rivalry in consumer technology, by far.

(MORE: How Google TV Can Be Saved)

Does this have any impact on Android patent lawsuits?

Well, sure: Google will own Motorola’s giant trove of mobile patents. Suing Google or Android licensees should be less tempting if Google controls patents that would let it sue you right back. I’m not sure about how it affects lawsuits in progress, such as Oracle’s one against Google and Apple’s one against HTC, but here are some early thoughts from FOSS Patents’ Florian Mueller.

Will it inspire more humongous acquisitions?

There will certainly be more deals inspired by a need to snap up patents for offensive and defensive purposes. But hmmm…will there be anything on the level of, say, Microsoft actually buying Nokia? I hope so–it would be fun to write about.

What does this mean for the problem that dare not speak its name, Android fragmentation?

It could mean more fragmentation for Android phones that aren’t made by Motorola, if companies such as HTC and Samsung decide that the best way to compete with Google’s own devices is to add differentiation through additional layers of software. (I hope they don’t go that direction, but that’s just me.) With any luck, though, the Motorola product line will eventually look like the Nexus S writ large–a bunch of phones that offer unadulterated, immediately-updated Android. The mere act of doing that would go a meaningful way towards catching up with the simplicity of the iPhone. article continues on next page…

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