Vendors back Android despite Motorola buy
At least three Android device makers are unconcerned about Google's planned acquisition of Motorola Mobility and plan to continue using the platform regardless.
While much has been said regarding the potential impact of Google's $12.5 billion (€8.7 billion) deal on the Android ecosystem, representatives from Sony Ericsson, HTC and Acer say don’t intend to change any product plans. The vendors indicated that they believe the acquisition is important to allow Google to acquire the patents needed to protect Android.
Motorola's share of the Android device market is only around 15%, a Sony Ericsson executive told Reuters, so it would not make sense for Google to jeopardize the other 85%.
The success of the Android platform is under threat, with device makers including Samsung fending off patent lawsuits and Microsoft pressuring smaller vendors into licensing deals.
Despite the obvious patent benefits, Google chairman Eric Schmidt says the acquisition is also about devices, telling Bloomberg that Motorola has “some amazing products.”
While Schmidt didn’t specify which category or categories of products he was referring to, it has been suggested that Google could use Motorola's set-top-boxes to bolster its unsuccessful Google TV product.
Opinion is divided as to whether the US Justice Department's opposition to the AT&T/T-Mobile merger indicates that Google could face similar resistance to its Motorola purchase. But antitrust challenges on vertical mergers - between two companies in adjacent businesses - are rare.
Currently 39 handset makers - including Motorola Mobility - develop Android devices.