This report has surfaced on China Daily Report and is spreading like wildfire over the web and social networks: according to them, Lenovo is buying Motorola Mobility from Google for $3 Billion – and yes that would include the patents. First of all the first thing that sounds really wrong about this is that Google purchased Motorola Mobility and the patents for $12B. It’s not like Google needs any cash, but still, that seems like an awfully big discount for a company and brand that is on a slight path upwards. For sure, Motorola has its own set of problems, whether it is finding its place among the Android partners, while being a Google subsidiary or demonstrating that despite design and software improvements, it can sell huge volumes of handsets. Yet, these problems don’t seem to be worth a $9B discount. Neither Google or Motorola are that desperate.
Reuters has also published what it says is “exclusive” information about the deal and says that both companies are in the “final” stage of negotiation, although Reuters hints that maybe not all patents will be part of the buyout, which adds a new nuance to the story. At the moment, no one from Lenovo or Google has commented on this story, and you can be sure that there is more to it than what is transpiring right now.
Update: this is now official as confirmed by Google, Lenovo will acquire Motorola , but Google will keep the vast majority of the patents – which were the reason for buying Motorola Mobility to start with. This makes a lot more sense than the initial reports which suggested that the patents would go as well.
Lenovo already had a fast growing smartphone business, and it is clear that this is a great move for them. Most likely, Lenovo has negotiated a great access to all the Motorola patents, and therefore feels good enough about the deal to move forward. Motorola will now have a much clearer position in regards to their relationship with Google. Prior to that, other OEMs were fearful that Motorola would get prime access to the Android team, while I know that this was hardly the case. From now on, Motorola will be an OEM like any other when it comes to its relationship with Google.
Overall, it seems like a win for everyone: Lenovo got a fair price for the Motorola business and will use it to its advantage in North America and Europe (Lenovo does very well already in Asia), Google can get back to being the OS provider that it does so well but get to keep the Motorola patents, just in case Android gets in legal trouble.
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