Apr 11th, 2012

Quickly closing in on a year since Google announced plans to acquire Motorola Mobility the deal remains unclosed. But getting the necessary approvals and finalizing the $12.5 billion purchase is really only the beginning. The jury is still out on what Google plans to do with Motorola once they assume control of the company. The decision to buy the company was made mostly on patents — Motorola’s 17,000 or so would be a big help in defending Google and its Android operating system from legal attacks that seem to be coming from all directions — but there has been much debate about how Google will handle Motorola’s hardware division.

Some see Google making a legitimate attempt to enter the OEM space, others believe the tech giant will allow Motorola to continue operating more or less independently. Still others see a mix of the two with Google taking advantage of Moto’s manufacturing ability to toy around with new product ideas and services while Motorola continues to churn out their own products. Central to discerning what Google will do is the notion that the company doesn’t want to alienate other Android manufacturers by playing favorites with Motorola. A few insiders see Google avoiding the decision altogether and selling Motorola’s hardware division to a third party. Some even claim they know who.

According to sources speaking with The Wall Street Journal, Google is already in communication with Huawei to discuss a potential sale. People close to Google deny that any such discussions have occurred and remain mum on Google’s plans. The move would make sense, at least. Huawei is an up-and-coming manufacturer with strong backing in China. They could certainly use Motorola’s worldwide reach to create an even stronger brand or reach into new markets. Of course, the idea of selling an American company to a Chinese firm wouldn’t sit well with some folks.

The bottom line is, no one is quite sure what Google will do and we likely won’t know until after the initial deal is approved. That could happen soon, but given how long the process has taken we may be waiting a while longer before learning the extent of Google’s plans.

[WSJ via IntoMobile]

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