Android manufacturers like HTC, LG and Sony Ericsson sure seem excited about Google’s $12.5 billion Motorola Mobility purchase — even though it could mean friction down the line between Google and its Android partners.
“We welcome the news of today’s acquisition, which demonstrates that Google is deeply committed to defending Android, its partners, and the entire ecosystem,” HTC CEO Peter Chou wrote in a statement to press this morning. Google said today that Motorola’s massive patent portfolio is a big reason it decided to buy the company.
Other Android manufacturers followed HTC’s lead almost verbatim, Engadget reports. Sony Ericsson President and CEO Bert Nordberg said, “I welcome Google’s commitment to defending Android and its partners.” LG President and CEO Jong-Seok Park said, “We welcome Google’s commitment to defending Android and its partners.”
We asked Samsung for comment, and — brace yourselves — the company’s president of global mobile communications JK Shin had this to say, “We welcome today’s news, which demonstrates Google’s deep commitment to defending Android, its partners, and the ecosystem.”
Indeed, we can’t really expect Google’s Android partners to talk ill of today’s news. Most of these companies have centered their mobile device business on Android, and it wouldn’t really help them to complain. But there’s certainly reason for Android partners to worry — Google has now gotten itself into a situation in which it will be competing with its own licensees. That’s never really worked out well in the technology world — just look at Microsoft screwed over its PlayForSure partners with the Zune.
But while the Android partner response may sound robotic and monotonous, they all have a point. Google will be be able to help its partners fend off patent battles thanks to Motorola’s massive portfolio. The only question now is how much the Motorola purchase will hurt Android partners’ device business.