If you’re anything like me, then you probably own a smartphone (iPhone 4 from the original Motorola Droid) and do everything on it from checking the weather to tracking your stock portfolio. After the death of Steve Jobs (R.I.P.), Apple Inc., released the iPhone 4S rather than the iPhone 5 that everyone had come to expect through all the media speculation. And while many were upset by this new found truth, Apple Inc., sold 4 million iPhone 4S which was probably helped by the phone being available on it’s 3rd service provider, Sprint.
But long before the iPhone 4S hit the market (about 2 months), Google announced plans to buy Motorola Mobility Holdings (the cell phone division of Motorola) for $12.5 billion. There was no surprise that Motorola Mobility’s (MSI) stock price rose by 55% in lieu of the announcement.
Currently Google is the maker of the Android software that many popular touchscreen smartphone devices that came after the iPhone use as its OS. Steve Jobs was quite candid in his opinion of the Android operating system stating that “I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong,” Jobs told Isaacson. “I’m going to destroy Android because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go to thermonuclear war on this. They are scared to death because they know they are guilty.”
Apple’s iPhone has been a great product because of the fact that the hardware and software are made by the same company. So the phones seems to work like a charm (in my experience). The touchscreen is very responsive, the user interface is quite intuitive, and since switching from the original Motorola Droid, it has been the better experience for me personally. Even more so, when you get an iPhone, you get an iPhone. So while you may experience better or worse call/3G service on Verizon, ATT, or Sprint; the phone without those needs is essentially the same in every way. Loads of apps, great camera, iPod, and no one can deny that it looks good.
With Android you don’t get the same experience, because all phones using the Android OS are not created equal. From what I’ve read, HTC is the pack leader and the list falls in line under them. And when you get into the various service providers who carry Android operated phones, the difference in quality is immediately apparent. So when Google announced plans to offer $12.5 billion for Motorola Mobility Holdings the media was abuzz and rightfully so.
Motorola was the first company to produce a touchscreen smartphone that could be a real competitor to the iPhone on the Verizon platform running Google’s Android OS. When I bought it, the Motorola Droid was a dream. The touchscreen snapped to apps quickly similar to the iPhone, it was just as intuitive to me, and the experience was first place in my mind only having short moments to test drive my friends’ iPhones. And with the advent of Adobe Flash support a few months later, it actually gave the Droid a leg up in my personal opinion, though I haven’t missed Flash much these days.
Fast forward to today a couple of years after Android hit the market and you’ve got potentially one of the best software companies in Google grabbing one of the first great makers of cell phones in Motorola. I like the media immediately thought, Google’s going to do with Android what Apple did with the iPhone. They’re going to make the phone and the OS, and this is going to tell if this growing company that is Google, can take on the old T-Rex of the tech industry who’s gotten a brand new set of legs and a healthy appetite for swallowing up market share across many platforms since the return of it’s visionary CEO Steve Jobs about a decade ago.
But the hunch that we all have is wrong according to Google. They say they plan to run Google and Motorola Mobility as separate firms as they are today and according to Android boss Andy Rubin ““I don’t think you should consider Google’s acquisition of Motorola as Google entering the hardware business,” Rubin said. “This is going to be an arm’s length thing…Motorola isn’t going to get any special treatment.” Whether you buy that or not is a matter of debate.
Currently the acquisition is being review by the Department of Justice to make sure that the deal wont violate any antitrust laws and is expected to be done by the end of 2011 or early 2012,. But if it goes through, the wheels will begin to turn again in the minds of techies, the media, and certainly investors who will look to make a buck off of this deal. And while the next Google phone, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus that will run Google’s new software, Android Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0, it is noticeably not made by Motorola. But for how long will Google allow it’s platform to be used freely across so many different makers. Surely it is cool for Google to keep the OS open for users to use, but with Apple winning a patent lawsuit against them, and Microsoft being paid by many makers for the use of Android. Obtaining the massive amounts of patents that Motorola owns would be a feather in their cap to help shield them from the lawsuits. And as competition continues to heat up in the smartphone market, why wouldn’t they want to cash in on the kind of sales the Apple has been able to enjoy with the iPhone. Your guess is as good as mine. I’ll be following closely. Feel free to weigh in.