For several years now, Google has been following a vow made by former CEO Eric Schmidt: mobile first. New CEO Larry Page is taking that dictum to a new level by a deal to buy Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion on Monday.
The implications of this deal depends entirely on how Google plans to use Motorola. If, as some claim, the deal is more about obtaining Motorola's mobile patent portfolio than anything else, we can expect escalating patent warfare between technology giants and limited innovation beyond that. If, however, Google intends to operate the business it is acquiring, we may see some broad and
Sweeping changes in the technology industry
If the deal is about obtaining Motorola's mobile patent portfolio, then Google would likely spin off the hardware end of the company and keep the software and patents. The patents would be vital weapons in its competition with Apple and Microsoft, as the two companies are using patent claims to try to slow the remarkable growth of Google's Android operating system, which has become the most widely used smartphone platform.
But assuming Google intends to operate the business it is purchasing - and also assuming, as seems probable, regulatory approval of the deal - the landscape for Google, and the technology industry more broadly, will change.