You're probably aware by now, but just in case you aren't: Google Inc. coughed up $12.5 billion for Motorola Mobility this morning. On the surface, this looks bad for Waterloo-based BlackBerry-maker Research in Motion (competing Android now has a hardware component, just like the BB) and good for Microsoft Corp.'s Windows Phone 7 (peeved mobile manufacturers might take a longer look at the platform rather than going Android).
Not sure I buy either argument. All the buzz about this announcement has been about the patent portfolio Google picks up, 24.500-or-so strong. With Microsoft also reportedly at the table, Google had to jump on the opportunity at, reportedly, $40 a share, a 60 per cent premium. Microsoft was after the same thing as Google, says GigaOm blogger Om Malik, figuring that patent store offered ample opportunity to “torpedo” Android.
I don't believe Google wants to be in the hardware business. I doesn't make sense to compete with your own suppliers, or develop, as some have suggested, a two-tier Android platform, one for Googorola, another for everyone else. So I don't see a new threat to RIM.
Nor do I see an advantage for Phone 7.As an anonymous RIM senior manager wrote in an open letter to execs, it isn't about winning over the providers with hardware anymore, it's about winning developers over to your platform. Even if the noses of the likes of HTC and Samsung are out of joint, the critical mass of Android apps and developers will be too juicy to abandon. Until Phone 7's got that same critical mass, Android handset-makers aren't going anywhere.