Google’s acquisition of Motorola Mobility (the handset maker branch) raises a few questions on the future openeness of the Android ecosystem in the future.
The acquisition is mostly presented as an acquisition of a patent portfolio but is that all?
In a previous post, I was mentioning that Android 3.0 has been reserved to a few selected manufacturers mainly Motorola. Motorola enjoyed around 4 months to sale its Android powered tablet before another competitor could enter the stage.
It certainly won’t improve with Motorola being a Google subsidiary.
“The acquisition of Motorola Mobility, a dedicated Android partner, will enable Google to supercharge the Android ecosystem,” Google said in a statement.
So we’ll have a 2 kind of Android devices. The Motorola devices with the latest features and innovation and the rest of the market providing the same devices but with months of delay or niche products that Google/Motorola don’t want to produce.
Most of the OEMs don’t care as long the OS license fee remains free, but what will be the reaction of the main ODM like Samsung, HTC, LG, Sony-Ericsson? Even if Google is 100% honest and Motorola managed separately there will be still suspicion in the air.
This is creating a fantastic opportunity for Microsoft is they play smartly. After all HTC is paying Microsoft around 5$ per Android device for Intellectual Property. If the cost of a Windows Phone 7 license is around 10$ the benefits of using Android are meager: 5$ per device for an outdated OS version. With the end of the Symbian foundation, Microsoft remains the only Open OS provider not manufacturing devices.