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Google boosts smart phone position with Motorola Mobility buy

Simon Quicke

Google might be facing a tough competitor in Apple, which is defending its smart phone patents aggressively, but has bolstered its access to intellectual property with the $12bn (£7.65bn) acquisition of Motorola Mobility Holdings.

The cash deal, which should close wither the end of this year or early next, will bring into Google a firm that has a track record in the hardware development not just of smart phones but also set top boxes.

The purchase is the largest Google has made so far and provides an indication of ambitions to not just deliver the Android OS to smart phones but have a growing stake in the hardware market.


In a blog post the CEO of Google Larry Page was keen to reference the ongoing fight against rivals as well as beefing up the deal with Motorola, which has been an Android advocate for the last few years.

"We recently explained how companies including Microsoft and Apple are banding together in anti-competitive patent attacks on Android. The U.S. Department of Justice had to intervene in the results of one recent patent auction to "protect competition and innovation in the open source software community" and it is currently looking into the results of the Nortel auction," he wrote.

"Our acquisition of Motorola will increase competition by strengthening Google's patent portfolio, which will enable us to better protect Android from anti-competitive threats from Microsoft, Apple and other companies," he added.

"The combination of Google and Motorola will not only supercharge Android, but will also enhance competition and offer consumers accelerating innovation, greater choice, and wonderful user experiences," he added.

The existence of Motorola Mobility has been long in the gestation but the company only emerged at the start of this year.

A velvet divorce between the two halves of Motorola was first tabled nearly three years ago, and after finalising terms last December, the company became Motorola Solutions and Motorola Mobility on 4 January, led by Greg Brown and Sanjay Jha respectively.

The vendor had been operating a two-tier programme distributing through Avnet, Ingram Micro and ScanSource in the UK.

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