When Google purchased Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion last year, a lot of people were skeptical of its eventual success. But Google’s idea of success in the mobile world is not necessarily making money, at least not in the short-term, but adding users to its growing market share. That, in contrast to the limited profit made so far on Android, has been a rousing success. Android is used by more than half the smartphone users across the world, and it is activating nearly a million handsets a day.
But its purchase of Motorola Mobility hasn’t actually led to any serious innovation. The idea has been thrown around that Google purchased the company only for its 17,000 patents and not necessarily to directly create new handsets. Andy Rubin, Android’s progenitor and spokesperson, has said that there will literally be a firewall between the two companies, making it impossible for Motorola to gain advantage over its rivals. Considering the company hasn’t released a high-profile smartphone since the Motorola RAZR, this appears to be true.
But the Wall Street Journal is reporting that Google has been shopping Motorola’s handset manufacturing division around, and has been in talks with Huawei to shake off the burden of a non-performing company: Motorola only owns 4% of the market, and is in no position to make huge gains in the wake of Samsung’s success, HTC’s comeback and Sony’s re-invigorated attitude. Not to mention Huawei itself, which is poised to make a big splash in North America with its Ascend line of phones.
There is no specific price being speculated for the sale, and Google is denying it, saying that they are building up Motorola as an independent company. As mobile search increases in importance over the next few years, it only makes sense that Google would focus on Android as an overall asset; selling off Motorola’s hardware division while keeping its former patents would help it get there.