Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) will not "screw up" its Android mobile ecosystem as a result of its proposed $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility (NYSE:MMI), Google's executive chairman Eric Schmidt said in an interview with Bloomberg Television. Schmidt also argued that while deal may spur competition, Google will not favor Motorola over other Android licensees.
"The Android ecosystem is the No. 1 priority, and that we won't do anything with Motorola, or anybody else by the way, that would screw up the dynamics of that industry," Schmidt said. "We need strong, hard competition among all the Android players. We won't play favorites in the way people are concerned about."
The comments came in the wake of a Department of Justice request for more details about the deal. Since the acquisition was announced, analysts and some industry executives, most notably Nokia (NYSE:NOK) CEO Stephen Elop, have warned that the deal could spell danger for Android licensees if Google grants preferential treatment to Motorola for its mobile software.
Schmidt himself recently said that Google bought Motorola for more than just its patent portfolio. "We actually believe that the Motorola team has some amazing products coming. ... We're excited to have the product line, to use the Motorola brand, the product architecture, the engineers," he said.
The Google executive also touched on the patent issues surrounding the deal, and said the purchase of Motorola's 17,000 patents will help the company "bulk up" its intellectual property and lead to a detente in the highly litigious mobile patent field. Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) have sued Android licensees for patent infringement in cases widely seen as proxy fights with Google.
"From our perspective, we will end up having enough patents that we can end up with a rough truce with everybody else, which is how it's done," Schmidt said. "That's been the pattern in all other industries, and I'd expect something similar in ours."
Microsoft last week struck a wide-ranging patent agreement with Samsung in which Samsung will pay Microsoft a royalty for every Android smartphone and tablet it sells. Microsoft also has a similar deal with HTC, and in making the Samsung announcement Microsoft lawyers specifically noted that Motorola, which Microsoft sued for infringement before the Google deal, has not inked a patent-licensing deal.
- see this Bloomberg article
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