In 2013, it looked like Google-owned Motorola Mobility had finally hit its stride with the release of the Moto X and Moto G. Despite the success of these two phones, Google is already selling the company.
TechCrunch is reporting that Google will be selling the Motorola Mobility to Lenovo for almost $3 billion. Google purchased the company in 2011 for $12.5 billion. While the difference in price between the two makes it seem like Google may hold onto some patents, but China Daily reports the deal nets Lenovo 10,000 patents. That’s over half of the 17,000 patents Google acquired in its original purchase.
Unfortunately, we won’t know the exact terms of deal until it’s made official. Until then, we can only speculate and speculate we shall. For starters, a rumor popped up this week that Google would be discontinuing its Nexus brand of mobile devices in 2015. Others are stating that Google is simply rebranding the Nexus line as “Play Edition” to keep them in line with the non-Nexus phones currently offered on the Google Play store.
Either way, the sale of Motorola Mobility and the death/rebranding of the Nexus line may mean that Google is interested in moving away from mobile somewhat. The company is really putting a lot of its effort these days behind wearables with Google Glass. Add to that Google’s recent agreement with Samsung to cross-license each other’s patents and you have a perfect storm of speculation regarding the future of Google’s mobile plans.
Whatever happens, Google will remain committed to the Android platform. It just brings into question whether or not Google is committed to Android hardware as well.
We’ll likely find out more tomorrow as Lenovo says it will host a press conference on Thursday to officially announce the acquisition.
UPDATE: Google just made it official with a statement from CEO Larry Page. In the statement, Google cites a competitive market and it needing to be “all-in” for Motorola to succeed which is why they’re selling:
But the smartphone market is super competitive, and to thrive it helps to be all-in when it comes to making mobile devices. It’s why we believe that Motorola will be better served by Lenovo—which has a rapidly growing smartphone business and is the largest (and fastest-growing) PC manufacturer in the world. This move will enable Google to devote our energy to driving innovation across the Android ecosystem, for the benefit of smartphone users everywhere.
Page also confirmed two other notes of interest: Motorola will keep its branding in the move to Lenovo while Google will retain “majority of Motorola’s patents” which is it will “use to defend the entire Android ecosystem.”
At the end, Page adds that business will continual as usual at Motorola as the deal is approved by regulators in both China and the U.S.