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Google-Motorola deal: The future is in the pocket

There was a time when big was considered better. The more powerful the computing power, the more powerful processing, etc the better the computer was considered. In the last couple of years all that has changed.

india Updated: Aug 22, 2011 17:33 IST
Puneet Mehrotra
Puneet Mehrotra

There was a time when big was considered better. The more powerful the computing power, the more powerful processing, etc the better the computer was considered. In the last couple of years all that has changed.

Two companies that can be termed responsible for this change are Salesforce and Apple.

Salesforce because way back in 2000 they launched server driven apps so the client didn't need any software, their application did all the work.

That time it wasn't called cloud computing, yet application driven computing and now cloud computing changed the way software was used.

Take for instance ERP. An ERP solution 5 years ago would cost anything from Rs 10 lakh to a few crores depending on the size of the organisation. Oracle, SAP and Microsoft now have solutions starting from Rs 2,500 a seat!

That's the magic of cloud computing.

Apple changed the rules of the game through iTouch, then came iPhone followed by iPad. Lighter tablets turned chic and Google with its Android revolutionised how a no frills Operating System on the exact opposite end of the Microsoft's Windows OS is hot.

Portability is new mantra. Lighter is better.

Google Motorola deal
Software giant Google is aiming for hardware and Motorola Mobility is the latest acquisition with a cash deal worth $12.5 billion.

What this deal means would be clearer in the days to come but it does mean the deal comes with 17,000 patents, the deal also has another 7,500 pending, all now going to Google.

There is also a lot happening in the Japanese, South Korean and the Taiwanese mobility circle. Last year Japan witness major mergers with Fujitsu and Toshiba merging handset operations as also NEC, Casio and Hitachi combining their handset operations to take the onslaught of iPhone and other players.

Around 4 years ago I had interviewed Andy Rubin of Google Android. (Rubin's Android was acquired by Google in August 2005). He was upbeat and made it seem as if the market was waiting for system like Android to soak it up. It seemed unbelievable then. Yet today Android story may just be a huge success of recent times thanks to Google's $12.5 confidence in it.

Google tryst with history continues.

Interestingly Motorola is also the company that invented the mobile phone. Dr Martin Cooper of Motorola made the first private handheld mobile phone in 1973.

The future is portability
Be light, dump the baggage is the new mantra and companies like Citrix have pioneered in this area.

Effectively what it means is that every screen is a new one, everyday. It also means that you are no longer required to keep loading software or backups. Cloud computing is in and all the information is stored in cloud.

You simply have a screen and a keyboard to do your work. The browser does it all. For home users it means while earlier you had to take backups, keep your Outlook free from viruses, update anti virus etc. All that has changed now.

The email is online, online backups and sync is now a browser facility (Google Gears does it well). When just the browser is at work you hardly have a need of an anti-virus.

While in the old era companies like Norton made antivirus that made it seem as if the computer was made only for running the antivirus, and software ate their share of the processing pie, Microsoft adding its giant share to eating the processing computing speed, all this lead to heavier processors and computing systems.

Cloud computing is a change to all that. The browser does it all and Google has done really in this. From Docs to Calendar everything on the browser, take it in your pocket on the phone or the bed on your tablet.

The last word
Android, a small startup Google bought in August 2005 today has a share of around 20%, which definitely isn't much. With such a small market share Google's biggest competitor Microsoft won't have expected a $12.5 billion deal at this stage.

Interestingly while Google has free cloud replicas of Microsoft's cash cows i.e. Microsoft Office etc, in the Operating System department Google is on the exact opposite end of Microsoft, simple, no bells, simply browser has it all, operating system.

Yet in all this the money that flows to Google is majorly from advertising. Facebook is the biggest threat to Google in that area and social networking is one area Google has been trying to make inroads for years now. Plus is its latest attempt. Google Plus means a lot to Google and it maybe just the default homepage on the latest Android Motorola Device. Wonder whether that calls for an anti trust law?

Remember Microsoft OS and the Netscape and Explorer story...

Puneet Mehrotra is a business and technology columnist

First Published: Aug 20, 2011 17:48 IST