A huge deal that was announced last year has finally gone through all the necessary regulatory hurdles and is now finished: Google has purchased smartphone-maker Motorola Mobility.
Sanjay Jha, the CEO of Motorola Mobility, has stepped down. He’s has been replaced by Dennis Woodside, who just spent three years as Google’s President of the Americas region.
Motorola has made a number of high-profile smartphones and tablets running Google’s Android operating system, such as most of Verizon’s popular Droid series. Nevertheless, the company struggled to make a profit when it was on its own, and spent several years looking to be acquired before Google picked it up.
A curious part of the deal is Google has never revealed exactly why it decided to purchase Motorola Mobility. This has left analysts with a number of theories, and has also made rival Android device makers a touch nervous.
There’s no doubt that by acquiring Motorola Google has gained access to its extensive patent library — the company invented the cell phone, after all. This will come in handy in the ongoing patent infringement battle between Apple and Google.
A more radical possibility is that Google plans to emulate Apple and become a company that closely integrates the hardware and the operating system it produces. It’s this theory that makes other makers of Android-based devices like Samsung and HTC nervous, as they wonder if they’ll be squeezed out.
Google disputes this, however, saying that it intends to allow the phone maker to run as an independent subsidiary. Still, proponents of this theory point out that the former CEO of Motorola Mobility has been replaced with a long-time Google employee, which could be a sign that the two are going to be closely tied together.
People throughout the mobile industry will surely be watching carefully in the coming months to see how Google’s acquisition of Motorola Mobility turns out.