By Benjamin Pimentel
Google Inc. Chief Executive Larry Page reiterated the company’s plans to keep its Android mobile operating system open—despite its pending acquisition of Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc.
Sanjay Jha, Motorola chairman and chief executive
In an open letter posted on Google’s website, Mr. Page said he expects “to build great devices” based on its Android platform and the technology of Motorola Mobility, which it is about to acquire.
But Mr. Page also stressed that its steadily growing Android ecosystem will remain open to other device makers.
“[I]t’s important to reiterate that openness and investment by many hardware partners have contributed to Android’s success,” Mr. Page wrote. “So we look forward to working with all of them in the future to deliver outstanding user experiences.”
He added: “Android was built as an open ecosystem, and we have no plans to change that.”
Page’s letter hinted at Google’s ambitions to make its own devices, though the company had stressed that the acquisition is aimed mainly at beefing up its patent portfolio to be able to better defend its Android ecosystem.
However, some analysts have speculated that Google’s Motorola deal could shake up its own relationship with other manufacturers using the Android system for smartphones and tablets.
Susquehanna analyst Herman Leung also said that the Page letter underlines Google’s interest in developing a hardware business.
“It sounds like they are committed to going after the hardware business,” he said. “Saying ‘building great devices’ tells me it’s tablets, it’s more phones.”
He took note that Google did reiterate its commitment to an open ecosystem. But Leung added, “It’s ultimately up to partners,” and to Google’s ability to convince them that they will maintain an open ecosystem.
BGC Partners analyst Colin Gillis said Google clearly has more in mind than just patents. “You bought a hardware company — guess what you’re going to make?” he said, adding that Google may be looking other areas of growth, such the television market.
But the concern with the Motorola deal, he commented, is that “once it closes, it’s going to wreck margins.”
Tags: Motorola Mobility