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Google acquiring Motorola Mobility for $12.5bn

Who in all honesty saw this coming? Google has just announced that it intends to acquire Motorola Mobility, the mobile manufacturing arm of Motorola, for a cool $12.5 billion dollars. So it looks like Google is a phone manufacturer now as well as a software developer.

Google says that the buyout of Motorola Mobility, “a dedicated Android partner” will allow the Android platform to be “supercharged” and enhance competition in mobile computing.”

Crucially, the press release states that “Motorola Mobility will remain a licensee of Android and Android will remain open. Google will run Motorola Mobility as a separate business.”

So the Motorola brand isn’t going to be retired anytime soon.

Andy Rubin also reiterated that Android would remain open as a platform, saying; “our vision for Android is unchanged and Google remains firmly committed to Android as an open platform and a vibrant open source community.

We will continue to work with all of our valued Android partners to develop and distribute innovative Android-powered devices.”

The deal, pending regulatory approval in the US, Europe and elsewhere across the globe seems to be all but done with Google expecting everything to be signed off “by the end of 2011 or early 2012.”

In a separate post on the Official Google Blog, Larry Page mentions “anti-competitive patent attacks on Android” stating that “Our acquisition of Motorola will increase competition by strengthening Google’s patent portfolio, which will enable us to better protect Android from anti-competitive threats from Microsoft, Apple and other companies.”

Recently, Apple fired a legal broadside at Samsung over it’s Tab 10.1, accusing the Korean firm of “blatant copying” design ideas from the iPad 2. Motorola recently announced that it too had come under fire over the Xoom tablet, presumably for similar reasons.

We’re wondering if this and other patent issues could affect or delay the Google buyout. This will no doubt fuel more rumours regarding whose going to make the next Nexus device. A lot of people are saying Samsung for the Nexus Prime, but this move, obviously in the works for some time, suggests that there may indeed be a second Nexus phone due this year – the Nexus 3 – and it may well be made by Motorola.

More on this as and when we hear it.

Update:

The head honchos of HTC, Sony Ericsson and LG have all recently issues the following welcoming noises:

“We welcome the news of today’s acquisition, which demonstrates that Google is deeply committed to defending Android, its partners, and the entire ecosystem.” – Peter Chou CEO, HTC Corp.

“I welcome Google’s commitment to defending Android and its partners.” – Bert Nordberg.President & CEO, Sony Ericsson.

“We welcome Google‘s commitment to defending Android and its partners.” – Jong-Seok Park, Ph.D
President & CEO, LG Electronics, Inc.

No word from Samsung just yet…

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