Battle for Mobile Device Dominance Takes a New Turn
By Raymond Foo, Asian Editor, EMSNow
May 30, 2012
Google's acquisition of Motorola Mobility can potentially lead to a seismic shift in the balance of power in the mobile device market. Mention tablets or smartphones and the Apple brand usually comes to mind. In the near future, it could be Google or even Motorola.
Terms of the agreement state that Motorola Mobility will remain a licensee
of Android and that the operating system will remain open. Google announced that it will run Motorola Mobility as a separate business. As more users incorporate mobile technology in their daily lives, this deal will have strong implications for the electronics manufacturing industry.
Industry analysts predict Google and Motorola Mobility together will accelerate innovation and offer more choices in mobile computing. Most importantly, Motorola Mobility's patent portfolio will help protect the Android ecosystem. This has been an issue of great concern among competing device manufacturers. Android, which is an open source software, is vital to competition in the mobile device space, ensuring hardware manufacturers, mobile phone carriers, applications developers and end consumers all have options.
Most reports coming out from Asia find the deal favourable for the region, where many of Google's Android licensees are based, such as Samsung, HTC, LG, Asus, Acer and Lenovo. Many manufacturers are confident that Google will be licensing out patents at a fair price while others wait to see the long term effects of Google now owning its own manufacturing arm.
Motorola Mobility's manufacturing strength and extensive patent portfolio will be critical if Google decides to compete with Apple for dominance in the smartphone and tablet market. Google will also compete with Microsoft as it rolls out new versions of Windows in these markets.
Various scenarios can occur in the upcoming months, including whether mobile device manufacturers that currently utilise Android will see Google as a competitor, and possibly move over to Microsoft. Personally, I think we are about to see the second rising of Motorola if they follow through with the strategy set by new CEO Dennis Woodside, setting their sights on "fewer, bigger bets".
Industry expectation was articulated best in a report by CMSWire which stated "Motorola is no longer such a big brand in terms of market share, but Google being the 900-pound gorilla in the smartphone OS industry might just change that".