- Oct 29, 2009
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- Austin, TX
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- Nokia Lumia Icon
There has been a lot of interesting theories/opinions on what impact Google's acquisition of Motorola will have on Android, and we touched on that briefly with a post from a contributor at Forbes that stated Motorola's smartphones would die at Google. Patrick Moorhead, contributing writer at Forbes, brought a very good argument to the table that "you cannot directly compete long term with your own customers long-term." His comment reflects a reality that has played out in the high tech world time and time again, so this observation is one that should not be discounted or thrown away as weak speculation. He outlines a very specific scenario that he see's playing out with the acquisition. Let's take a look at the step by step scenario of how he views the deconstruction of Motorola Handsets.
- Handset makers develop alternative backup plans to move to Windows Phone 8. Microsoft is receiving them with open arms right now. Samsung and many others already ship Windows Phone 7.
- Key Motorola smartphone talent start to leave after stock lockout dates and realization that Motorola cannot remain a standalone brand inside Google.
- Motorola launches the most compelling Android-based handsets and begin to take market share.
- Android licensees start executing their contingency plans and move strategic handsets to Windows. Android share plummets as Windows ascends.
- Google looks to spin out the Motorola handset company and license back IP but realizes they cannot lose the hardware talent.
- Google announces an exciting shift in strategy that provides all of Motorola’s design capabilities and IP to all Android licensees. The Motorola branded handsets are discontinued. The technical staff is put into hardware architecture groups similar to the way they are organized at Microsoft. Redundant employees are redeployed or laid off.
I think there is room for another operating system. iOS is great but it is a closed system. I think that Android may end up as a closed system because of [Google’s] relationship with Motorola.
Whitman is probably right that the merger may fundamentally change the Android landscape forever, although her comments could sound a little ludicrous. As it stands now, Google makes money off Android by serving ads to mobile websites and through applications, so making Android closed source would be shooting themselves in the foot. That is a given, but what if the scenario outlined above by Patrick Moorhead (Forbes) were to play out? Could this merger jeopardize the open platform Android enthusiast have enjoyed for so long, and kill off the Motorola Smartphone, or is this simply insanity?