Google’s Eric Schmidt says Motorola acquisition won’t “screw up” Android… “We won’t play favorites”

Ian Hardy

October 3, 2011 2:43pm


Google’s mammoth $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility and their 17,000+ patents were surprisingly “welcomed” with open arms by other manufacturers who push out Android-powered devices. Samsung, Sony Ericsson, HTC and LG all published a very political and structured sentence that went something like this: “We welcome Google‘s commitment to defending Android and its partners”. There has been limited talk since this happened in August, but Google outwardly stated that one of the main reasons for taking over Motorola would “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.”

In an interview with Bloomberg, Google’s Chairman Eric Schmidt seemed to confirm this news and also reaffirmed their commitment to other Android partners. “The Android ecosystem is the No. 1 priority, and that we won’t do anything with Motorola, or anybody else by the way, that would screw up the dynamics of that industry… We need strong, hard competition among all the Android players. We won’t play favorites in the way people are concerned about, and that we make sure that reward innovation in the right ways.”

Seems like every week there’s another lawsuit that involves a manufacturer being sued for patent infringement. Schmidt says they plan to “bulk up” on patents, grabbing more than just Motorola, but dreams of a day that everyone will find a “rough truce” to encourage innovation. “From our perspective, we will end up having enough patents that we can end up with a rough truce with everybody else, which is how it’s done… That’s been the pattern in all other industries, and I’d expect something similar in ours.”

Research firm IDC recently predicted that the Android OS will capture 39.5% market share by the end of this year, 45.4% by 2015. Surely along the friendly and open path to Google dominating the smartphone OS there will be some corporate drama unfold, most likely it’ll take shape in the current trend of a patent lawsuit.

Source: Bloomberg
Via: Phandroid

  • M1LK

    In light of Schmidt’s statements, it’s perhaps reasonable to extrapolate that the Nexus Prime will be made by Samsung and not Motorola (Droid Prime). Though it’s possible that there may be 2 Official Google Devices. =S

    • Zomby

      It’s been known for quite a while that the new Nexus phone is being made by Samsung. The Motorola acquisition is pretty recent and partnerships for the Google phone are usually put in place almost a year before the device is released so the only wat Motorola would have been able to make it is if they were already the ones whose bid had been accepted last year.

    • Bobby B

      Eric Schmidt loves using his BlackBerry

  • zar

    Here’s some hope that things will go for the best … *cough* no more Apple suits *cough*

  • zar

    @M1LK, isn’t it confirmed that the Prime will be made by Samsung? I though the only debate was over the name, whether it will be called Samsung Nexus, or Nexus Prime.

  • John

    What a fckin liar! Of course priority will be to motorola devices.

  • The Boze

    “We won’t play favourites *cough* unlike everything else we do when we own it *cough*”

  • CADDMan

    ‘we can end up with a rough truce with everybody else’….

    Sounds pretty hypocritical of Google to say this as they’ve already been offered partnerships with the likes of Microsoft, Apple, Ericsson, EMC, Sony, Oracle and RIM to join in patent deals that would allow all parties to benefit from legal protection against patent lawsuits. Most recently many of the above mentioned companies combined to purchase Nortel’s 6000+ patents, and even asked Google to join. However it was Google who specifically declined the invitation as they felt it was better to be the sole owner of patent portfolios as this allows them to sue others (with the euphemistic excuse of them just protecting against other lawsuits). This blatant admission by Google only proves themselves to be a company who wants to be the big man on campus dictating to others how things are done.

    This is what many complain the likes of Microsoft are doing by signing licensing deals with companies like HTC, Samsung, and many others. Except these are legitimate partnerships that give these companies patent protection. However, it seems Google would rather be the aggressor than the friend.

    That being said, it’s getting pretty ridiculous how patents are being handed out for ‘concepts’ instead of actual products. Patents are supposed to benefit innovation, not stagnate it with frivolous lawsuits. One cannot patent the act of catching a mouse, only patent the method used to catch the mouse. If someone else is able to make a better mouse trap, the original patent holder can do nothing unless the better mouse trap is built the same as their original design. Software should fall under copyright protection, not patent protection. If someone writes code that allows one to send e-mail over a wireless network then as long as their code was written independently and is different than someone else’s, then that’s innovation. If one simply copies someone else’s code, like Google is accused of doing by directly copying Java code (now owned by Oracle), instead of independantly writing their own code then they are not innovating at all but copying other’s work at no cost.

    • gotsthemoney

      CADDMan – who has Google sued? That’s right – nobody. Google hasn’t been the aggressor here – that’s been Apple and Microsoft suing Android phone makers for things like rectangular shape with rounded edges and other such nonsense. It’s funny how you think Microsoft extorting money from other companies for patents they hold is being “the friend” yet you think Google doing any such thing would be bullying – and once again, Google hasn’t sued anybody.

      With all of the Android phone makers under attack Google needs to defend them by having a patent portfolio to bargain with or attack back with to nullify threats from Apple, Microsoft, etc. If you take a look at Google’s blog, that is why they didn’t join the alliance for the Nortel patents – they specifically state they wanted a portfolio to defend against the very people that were trying to “partner” in this case – the same ones attacking Android phone makers.

    • Pitrick

      I will try to enlighten you in the way of the software patents…

      If Microsoft has 10 patents and you have 0…Microsoft has the leverage against you… if you want to buy 10 patents from Nortel that would make you guys equal in the patent department (I know I’m over simplifying things but follow me here)…but if Microsoft offers to buy those patents with you…Microsoft now has 20 patents and you have 10 patents…which brings you back to square one…

      Google needs exclusive patents to defend against other patents..I don’t get why people fail to understand such a simple concept.

      Thanks for reading..

    • CADDMan

      If Google is such the good guy, why have they never offered patent indemnification for all manufacturers of phones, or any device for that matter, that uses the Android OS? If they did then anybody who would want to submit a lawsuit for patent enfringement would have to deal with Google and not HTC or Samsung. Microsoft offers it to all manufacturers that install Windows Phone on their devices. How many of those have been sued? I’ll tell you, none because Microsoft puts there money where the mouth is. If one feels that another’s software infringes on one of your patents, you deal with Microsoft, not HTC or Samsung.

  • Alex

    He complains about the lack of innovation, yet buys everyones ideas. Oh the irony.

  • Slype

    Schmidt is up there… he’s one of those rare CEOs who can actually do work and not just spew rhetoric. He’s got his presentation skills and speeches down pat though. He even sounds quite sincere.

    While Google is known for buying companies who innovate and pulling them into the fold, it is because of companies like Google that we have moved so quickly ahead over the the last 5 years in phones, search, online advertising concepts and dozens of other technologies (not just web related). Thought you gotta give Apple kudos for bringing the smartphone to the unwashed masses. Smartphones that play movies have been around for quite a while (yes, even before the iPhone) but they let Johnny Canuck do the same thing without the use of too many braincells. Google is now leading the charge on phone software and if you doubt that statement, take a look at iOS 5 and look at how many features are being taken from other phone developers (Windows included). Google will slide from the top at one point but for now, they are leading the charge – Just like Motorola, RIM, Palm and Nokia did.

  • Kenny

    “The Android ecosystem is the No. 1 priority…”

    Could’ve fooled me. Gingerbread for the Nexus One is extrememly buggy (I had to roll back to Froyo and sell it cuz it was frustrating me), Android 2.3.6 for the Nexus S is buggy (I rolled back to 2.3.4), fragmentation is a killer (HTC Thunderbolt just got Gingerbread, LG Optimus and Samsung Captivate isn’t getting updated, etc), Honeycomb and Ice Cream Sandwich priorities are jumbled.

    I know carriers have a lot to do with the fragmentation, but man, the discrepancy of Android versions is massive.

    • replaytonews

      Watch out. There are many android fan boy here. Even though it is true.
      Im using android nexus as well.

  • Nick

    I think that as long as Motorola doesn’t get ridiculous favoritism, it’s understandable that other companies would be happy… it gives Google freedom to incorporate Moto’s patents into the next version of Android, and by extension everyone who uses Android has access to Moto’s patents (but only the one Google chooses to use in Android).

  • CADDMan

    I tried responding to replies to my above comment, but apparently this web site has issues with a commenter responding to their own comment to respond to responses. So if this appears twice, I apologize…

    If Google is such the good guy, why have they never offered patent indemnification for all manufacturers of phones, or any device for that matter, that uses the Android OS? If they did then anybody who would want to submit a lawsuit for patent enfringement would have to deal with Google and not HTC or Samsung. Microsoft offers it to all manufacturers that install Windows Phone on their devices. How many of those have been sued? I’ll tell you, none because Microsoft puts there money where the mouth is. If one feels that another’s software infringes on one of your patents, you deal with Microsoft, not HTC or Samsung.

  • CADDMan

    OK, I’ve tried this twice now and my comment doesn’t appear to be loading. I’ll make it brief….

    If Google wants all, and I mean ALL, the lawsuits to stop against all manufacturers who use the Android OS on their devices, I have two words for you….patent indemnification.

    If Google provides that to everyone, then all the lawsuits go away. Microsoft provides it and guess what, no one is sued for using Windows Phone, or any Microsoft software whatsoever. Perhaps Google is too cheap to offer it because their software is stolen from others, like Java. I’m just saying this can easily be put to bed for anyone being sued. It’s all up to Google.

  • CADDMan

    For those who are complaining that companies are suing handset makers that use Android, I have two words for you, patent indemnification. Microsoft offers it for any developers or companies who use Microsoft software in their products so those companies are sheltered from any lawsuits. However, Google does not offer any patent indemnification so anyone who uses their software, such as Android, are completely open to any and all lawsuits. That’s why you see device makers using Android being sued left and right and no one who uses Microsoft software being sued. If you have a problem with HTC or Samsung or LG handsets using Microsoft software that infringe on your patent, you sue Microsoft. Let’s see Google put their money where their mouth is, at least Microsoft does.