In MMI's case there is a functioning business also being sold apart from the patents. So you cant say its a fair price as Nortel sold only patents.
Moto will be really hopping for a bidding war. I feel MS will be willing to fork up even 20B to keep Google from getting the patents.
@terion & @KB3001: Sad indeed, but this looks to be a defensive move by Google. Really, Google has little choice. I think it is a very smart move on the part of Google, in difussing the large number of patent lawsuits against them.
2. The price appears to be 'fair'. Consider Nortel's 6000 patents were sold for $4.5B, or $750K per patent. Google is paying $12.5B/21300 or less than $600K per patent. Now this 21300 includes 6700 in filing. If one wants to be conservative, and assume roughly half of them will be granted, and use 18000 patents equivalent, $12.5B/18000 = $700K. About the same for Nortel. (Things are getting more interesting if you dig deeper into the numbers. Of the 6000 Nortel patents, only 2000 are considered to be in good standing. So how many of those 21300 patents are in good standing?)
3. If we break down the MMI into assets pools, there are three piles: IP, Handsets and Video. Handset lately has been a money losing business, and there is no end in sight. Video is an intriguing component, but to me is an icing on the cake in the grand scheme.
4. Looks to me there is synergy between Google TV and the Youtube with the MMI's video. That is a keeper, I think. However, the handset is a totally different business, with rapid product cycle, razor thin margin (i.e for non-iphone), huge coordinate/management issue in supply chain and sales channel, I think it is better off for Google to spin off or sell it to another company.
5. I am less pessimistic than KB3001 in whether Android will continue to be an open platform. I think it will be. I think Google will make it a level-playing field. Not only that, if it can be done, I think Google will lend its patent shield to other Android licensee such as HTC and Samsung. I am assuming Google is playing the hand right. Of course, it will be even more convincing if Google decides to spin off the handset business.
We can only speculate as to how important the broadband cable play was in this decision, but I for one would love to see what Google could do with the stodgy old cable box -- which still, after all these years, has abysmal search capabilities.
Rather than making Google TV a second box for over-the-top video, imagine if Google TV simply was THE box...the only box, and powered by Google software.
@terion, it is sad indeed, that's why I said it's a step backwards for the community. I am sure Google have their reasons for buying Motorola (the patent issue is the most convincing) but I personally do not trust Android to be an open platform in a few years time. I might be wrong but my confidence in Android has taken a dent! This is a gift to Microsoft.
The main reason for Android to be as popular as Apple is volume. If they don't provide same quality outside they will loose market edge.
I have feeling that having local Hardware group, they will be able to optimize software and hardware more optimally. And same solution can be opted by other manufacturers. I don't thing Google want to compete against other cell phone makers, just trying to optimize and improve their software.
Google says Android will remain open, but one must wonder how effective that openness will be when Google is able to provide the latest "pure" form of Android on its own hardware platform before releasing it to other Android partners. Google could very well make Android a closed ecosystem, just like Apple has with iOS, if it chose to do so.
Another interesting aspect of this deal is that Google will also be acquiring Motorola's broadband and cable TV equipment businesses, which represent nearly 2/3 of the cable TV/broadband infrastructure and cable set-top box market in the U.S.
This could have major implications for Google TV.
Isn't it sad that $12.5B is spend not for sake of innovation or new business opportunity, but just to defend against swarms of IP lawyers?
What is ratio of spendings on engineering vs lawyers in todays world? I guess it is diving and it is not customers who will benefit.
Was this deal thought of and done overnight? I don't think so. Google and its advisers certainly considered the pros and cons of such a deal, and the prospect of buying Motorola has perhaps been on Larry Page's mind for quite some time. Now Google can use Moto's patent portfolio to play a better defense, but also an excellent offense. Handset makers like Samsung, HTC and LG will redirect their focus towards Microsoft if the latter can provide an OS better than Android. And until I see it, I don't think Microsoft can come up with something that will give Android a run for its money.
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