While the focus of Google’s buyout of Motorola was patents first, then mobile hardware, also acquired in the transaction was the hardware maker’s Home division. The business, which manufacturers set-top boxes typically distributed by cable and other television providers, has been floated for sale, with reports now stating a deal could be inked before the end of the year.
According to Bloomberg, Google has been approached by both Arris Group and Pace Plc over a potential sale of Motorola’s TV business. The report is also quick to state that the chance of a deal being reached so soon is still only about 50 percent. Google is still seeking to retain equity in the company as well as a stronghold on its associated patents.
Never mind what it says about Google’s continued downsizing of Motorola after spending $12.5 billion to acquire the company last year, the move could speak volumes about how the search giant currently feels about its Google TV offering.
While no solid plans ever surfaced, owning Motorola Home opened up some intriguing possibilities for bringing Google TV to a larger audience. Shipping set-top boxes with the internet TV platform pre-installed could have pushed the service to a much wider user base via bundling with cable providers. It also presented the possibility for Google to work closer with such providers to create a more integrated Google TV experience.
The truth is, though, Motorola Home was likely never going to be Google TV’s savior. Other than providing Google with an outlet to create a great piece of hardware, the platform would likely still suffer from the same sort of issues it has seen thus far. As things stand, Google seems content to put minimal effort into what is becoming more and more a pet project, even as hardware partners attempt to push better GTV hardware to market.
We would have loved to have seen a Nexus set-top box power by Google TV. It would sure go over better than the Nexus Q. Motorola afforded Google with the opportunity, but if anything was ever to come of it we likely will never know.