After Google Inc. (GOOG) announced plans to acquire Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. (MMI) for $12.5 billion, executives from both companies jumped on a call with investors to offer more details about the pending transaction.
Marking his first major acquisition since taking the reins at Google, CEO Larry Page talked about the major strides the Android operating system has made since he first met Andy Rubin, now SVP of mobile at Google, in 2005.
“That was just six years ago and Android is one of the leading platforms in the industry,” Page said. He also applauded Motorola for making an early and decisive bet on Android in 2008 as a founding member of the Open Handset Alliance and one of the first licensees of the fledgling platform at the time.
“I’m impressed by the transformation that the team at Motorola Mobility has initiated,” Page said, noting the turnaround the company has made after it fell from grace following its incredible success with the Razr.
“Our relationship with Android began years ago when we were founding members of the Open Handset Alliance,” Motorola Mobility CEO Sanjay Jha said on the call. “The vision we saw then is a reality today — an open, innovative and comprehensive platform bringing smartphones to customers around the world.”
And with its set-top box business, Motorola and Google will be “uniquely positioned to capsulize on the convergence of mobile and home environments in partnership with our key customers,” Jha said. “There is a great convergence happening between the mobile world and the content that enters the homes through a set-top box. I think as a result of this combination and in working with our carriers we’ll be able to accelerate this convergence and delight our customers quite frankly.”
Motorola will be run as a separate business at Google and the company plans to report its earnings separately as well. Furthermore, Google is committing to maintaining Android as an open platform.
“There’s no change in how we’re running Android. Android is still open. Our partners are excited about this and we are excited about it too,” Page said.
Noting the disparate core competencies at Google and Android, this deal could be as much about patents as it is about anything else. Google has noted its increasing frustration with what it sees as aggressive licensing demands being put on the Android ecosystem.
Motorola Mobility holds more than 17,000 patents worldwide and has 7,500 patents pending. “We have tremendous strength not only in wireless standards, but also wireless non-essential patents which are the patents required to deliver competitive product in the marketplace,” Jha said.
Rubin said he sees the deal as one that will protect the ecosystem and enable it to expand as well.
“We are really excited about this whole business and working with the Motorola team and all the employees and all the hard work that’s been done there over the years. There’s tremendous opportunity here. Android is growing like crazy. We think that’s going to benefit all partners in the Android ecosystem, including Motorola,” Page said.
“We’re very excited about those opportunities. It really allows us to supercharge the Android ecosystem going forward.”