Motorola's Brown supports net neutrality, handset exclusivity

Motorola co-CEO Greg Brown expressed vague support for both handset exclusivity agreements and the idea of net neutrality, as he waded into discussion of two hot-button issues that have caught the attention of the FCC.

greg brown motorolaIn an interview with the Washington Post, Brown expressed his support for the company's embrace of Google's Android platform. When asked whether handset exclusivity deals help or hurt Motorola as a device maker, Brown said that the deals promote innovative handset design because such products are more likely to get promoted by carriers.

"That product then has the potential of being a hero product, being strongly promoted," he said. "In the current environment of competition, if we want preferred placement with a carrier, the onus is on us to innovate and make a superior product to put us in that position. I don't know how many devices there are, but I'd be hard pressed to say there is not a very wide choice of devices for a carrier." Large wireless carriers, including AT&T Mobility and Verizon Wireless, have made similar comments in defense of the exclusivity deals.

Brown also said he support net neutrality--but with important caveats. He said new neutrality rules should not hinder innovation, and that network builders and carriers should be able to make a reasonable return on their investments.

"That said, I agree with spirit of net neutrality in that the notion of ubiquitous devices being connected to networks is a good thing," he said. "The concept of nondiscrimination is right, too. However, I think network builders and carriers should also be entitled to reasonable return on their investments."

Brown's comments come at an interesting time for Motorola, which is in the midst of betting the farm on mobile devices running Android. The company is working to toe the line between engaging consumers with innovative products while also working with carriers to promote those devices--and maintaining carriers' connections to consumers.

For more:
- see this Washington Post article

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