Google completes Motorola deal; Woodside replaces Jha as CEO

Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) officially closed its $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility (NYSE:MMI), making the Android smartphone maker a part of its business in the biggest acquisition in Google's history. As expected, Motorola CEO Sanjay Jha stepped down and will be replaced by Google executive Dennis Woodside, who formerly ran Google's advertising sales business in the Americas before taking on the job of overseeing the acquisition in the second half of last year.

Google Motorola Dennis Woodside CEO


Under the deal, Motorola will remain a licensee of Google's Android operating system and Google has pledged that the platform will remain open. Analysts have speculated that Google might favor Motorola over other Android makers, but Google has consistently said that will not be the case.

Google will obtain 17,000 wireless patents--including in 2G, 3G and LTE technologies--through its acquisition of Motorola and hopes to use those patents to shield other Android licensees. The deal's close had been expected following approval from Chinese regulators over the weekend.

Woodside said in a statement that Motorola's new aim is simple: "to focus Motorola Mobility's remarkable talent on fewer, bigger bets, and create wonderful devices that are used by people around the world."

Motorola spokeswoman Jennifer Erickson confirmed to FierceWireless that while many Motorola executives will be joining the new management team, two key Motorola executives will be leaving the company. Christy Wyatt, Motorola's senior vice president for enterprise, who was formerly the company's corporate vice president of software and services product management, will be leaving. Additionally, Alain Mutricy, Motorola's senior vice president of portfolio and product management, will also be stepping down. Erickson did not comment on the executives' future plans. 

"It's a well known fact that people tend to overestimate the impact technology will have in the short term, but underestimate its significance in the longer term. Many users coming online today may never use a desktop machine, and the impact of that transition will be profound--as will the ability to just tap and pay with your phone," Google CEO Larry Page wrote in a company blog post. "That's why it's a great time to be in the mobile business, and why I'm confident Dennis and the team at Motorola will be creating the next generation of mobile devices that will improve lives for years to come."

Interestingly, according to Bloomberg Google also recently acquired the industrial design firm, Mike and Maaike, that worked on the first Google Nexus phone. The acquisition is a possible indication that Google plans to invest further in its new hardware business.

Jha came to Motorola as co-CEO in 2008 from Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) and quickly decided to transition the company's fading handset business to Google's Android platform. Motorola shot back into prominence thanks in large part to its partnership with Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) on the original Droid smartphone, and has enjoyed modest success with Android since 2009. However, the company was never able to break out from the pack of numerous Android vendors and achieve strong financial success.

Last year Jha maneuvered Google into raising its bid price 33 percent before Google eventually settled on the $12.5 billion price tag, according to a regulatory filing. According to a filing in April with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Jha collected total compensation of $47.1 million in 2011, up from $13 million in 2010, mainly through higher amounts of stock and stock options. 

For more:
- see this release
- see this Google blog post
- see this Reuters article
- see this Bloomberg article
- see this The Verge article
- see this IntoMobile article

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