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It’s official: Lenovo to buy Motorola Mobility from Google for $3 billion

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There are several ‘confirmed reports’ circulating across the tech press right now that Lenovo is set to buy Motorola Mobility from Google for a price somewhere between $2-3 billion. This sale would come just a few short years after Google bought Motorola for $12.5 billion.

While both Reuters and China Daily are reporting that the acquisition could be officially announced within hours, details of the deal are scarce, save one: apparently the $3 billion sale would not include Motorola’s patents. If you’ll recall, patents were the stated reason that Google originally purchased the hardware manufacturer.

Obviously, we’ll be keeping tabs on this story as it develops, but hopefully Motorola can maintain its newfound identity even as part of Lenovo. Despite a revenue drop of $1.78 billion in 2013, two of the company’s smartphones made the top of our best of the year list.

Lenovo was reportedly interested in purchasing BlackBerry last year, but the idea was shot down by the Canadian government on security grounds. No word whether similar issue will be taken by the U.S. government.

Let us know in the comments how you feel about the potential deal.


UPDATE: It’s official. The purchase price is approximately US $2.91 billion — a mix of cash and Lenovo stock — and Lenovo will get 2,000 unknown Moto patents, the MOTOROLA brand, Motorola Mobility, and Motorola’s portfolio of handsets including its future product roadmap. Google will keep most of the Motorola patent portfolio, but Lenovo will receive a license for access.

Larry Page, CEO, Google stated “Lenovo has the expertise and track record to scale Motorola Mobility into a major player within the Android ecosystem. This move will enable Google to devote our energy to driving innovation across the Android ecosystem, for the benefit of smartphone users everywhere.”

“As part of Lenovo, Motorola Mobility will have a rapid path to achieving our goal of reaching the next 100 million people with the mobile Internet. With the recent launches of Moto X and Moto G, we have tremendous momentum right now and Lenovo’s hardware expertise and global reach will only help to accelerate this,” said Dennis Woodside, CEO, Motorola Mobility.


Source: Google
Via: Reuters

  • David Lemelin

    noooo not to Lenovo

  • Striker67

    Was just about to get a moto G until I heard this. Will wait and see how it pans out. Updates could be uncertain with the new owners if true

    • TomsDisqusted

      With Telus responsible for updates, they were already uncertain. Still a great phone and a great deal IMO, but updates from Telus were the Achilles heel.

    • Scazza

      Not sure you know what you are talking about, the G got 4.4 only weeks after US did, and got a quick update right after launch too. Telus so far has been fine for the G (other phones, not so much).

    • Matthew Muysson

      If you are in the market for a budget smartphone right now, I would say just go for it, because even if it doesn’t get officially updated anymore, it still runs Kit Kat, and is supported on XDA if you ever feel the need to update or tweak it.

    • Steve Remington

      Not if tied into Google Plan, if correct as reported

  • jclgan

    No! Nononononono! Motorola just started on the upswing because of their tight integration with Google and producing the second-best thing to the Nexus, with their rapid updates and awesome software enhancements. I feel like this integration and synergy will be lost if Motorola gets sold…

    • Brad Fortin

      All Google really wanted was the patents. Better phones from Motorola are just a by-product.

    • Anaron

      I wonder if this means the next Nexus device will have an “always listening” feature like the Moto X. Of course, that’s assuming Google releases another Nexus smartphone in 2014. There are rumours spreading that Google will stop making Nexus smartphones in favour of Google Play Edition devices.

    • Bri

      that sounds like a BAD news… if true I mean. Even worse than Justin Bieber getting arrested ;)

    • cartfan88

      Check out the article on Androidbeat called…”After Google saw Samsung’s new tablets at CES, they politely asked Samsung to set them on fire”…give a little color on Google-samsung and potentially where this Moto deal fits in…

    • jclgan

      Don’t want to edit my knee-jerk reaction for the sake of transparency, but I’m recanting my negativity. Looks to be a good move for all parties. Especially since Project Ara is staying with Google.

  • Matthew Muysson

    Hmm….Google bought Motorola.
    Lenovo tried to buy Blackberry.
    Lenovo wasn’t allowed.
    Lenovo buys Motorola from Google.
    Google buys Blackberry?

    • Sweet

      When BB was up for sale, Google was rumoured to be interested. But I’m sure they would do to BB what they did to Moto: keep the patents and taxable losses and sell off the rest.

    • Steve Remington

      or US government nixes sale as did Canadian government?

    • Matthew Muysson

      I have a feeling that the Canadian government and the US government are a bit more comfortable with the other than with the Chinese…

    • Sweet

      If the government (including military and law enforcement) doesn’t use Motorola phones, which is the case as far as I know, then I’m pretty sure they’ll pass the deal.

      The Canadian government will block any sale of BB to a Chinese company because the Canadian government uses BB phones and the BB network. I’ll bet the US government holds the same position towards sales of tech to Chinese companies.

    • Al Chui

      If Lenovo had tried to buy just BB’s handset business, I don’t think the gov’t would have blocked it. They blocked it because of BB’s backend systems.
      Doubt very much that the US gov’t would have issue since it’s just handsets. After all, they did allow Lenovo to purchase IBM’s desktop business.

    • Steve Remington

      Its hand sets, some patents and licensing they’re purchasing.

    • Al Chui

      Sorry I wasn’t explicit, but the point is there is no sensitive infrastructure in this deal as there would have been in the BB deal.

      We can knock BB as much as we want (I’m certainly not a BB fan, nor am I a BB hater), but the one thing they’ve always done right is security and because of that large corporations & governments aren’t tossing them to the curb entirely. Even as corporations push towards BYOD, a certain segment of their employees won’t be given the option and will simply be given a BB10 device.

      Having a Chinese company controlling the BB NOCs, sets a lot of alarm bells off.

    • Steve Remington

      oh I agree with you 100% I think I brain miss-fired between reading and writing……..sorry about that

  • mrh192

    That’s one way to burn $10,000,000,000.00

    • cartfan88

      Bonuses for everyone this year!

    • Eric Leblanc

      As stated, they are keeping the patents, which are probably worth more than the company.

    • It’s Me

      They probably are worth more but they aren’t worth what google expected they would be. They were supposed to the mother of all patent hordes to use against Microsoft and Apple. So far they have yet to win a single case they’ve sued using them.

      Valuable? Yes. $10 billion? Apparently not. Selling moto at least lets them recoup some of the massive costs of those patents.

    • Deddyman

      Google never planned to “use” the patents against Microsoft and Apple aggressively. Merely as defensive, mutually-assured-destruction measures to prevent lawsuits and the like.

    • It’s Me

      Completely untrue. Motorola had already initiated lawsuits against Apple (before apple ever sued them) and once they took over, google stayed the course and backed those offensive lawsuits. They still do.

      Not only did they plan to use them, they were already in use. But, they’ve proven to be pretty useless. They’ve lost their offensive lawsuits and haven’t been able to use them to shut down any incoming suits. That mutually assured destruction you propose only works if you have weapons instead of toys. Very expensive toys.

    • Eric Leblanc

      Do you have an evaluation or someone’s evaluation for those patents? I’m kind of interested.

    • WatDah

      Why? Google still own the patents. And apparently that’s worth 3.3 times more than Motorola itself by Google’s calculation. Businesses are in it for the money. Nobody just burns money like that, not billions at least.

    • HelloCDN

      I would say it’s one way to save $10b… I mean, all that bravado about “proudly made in US” is cool, but unless you have necessary scale, you won’t even break even.

    • Steve Remington

      not when your holding original patents by the thousands

  • aamd11

    NOOOO

  • mrh192

    With recent rumours that the Nexus line is getting axed, I hope Google isn’t getting out of the hardware business. Maybe Samsung forced Google to stop being a competitor, threatening to ditch Android for Tizen?

    • Matthew Muysson

      Yeah, my guess is either this or my comment regarding Google possibly buying Blackberry, since there is such a demand for quality Android phones.

    • cartfan88

      Didn’t BB just outsource their handset production to Foxxconn?

    • Matthew Muysson

      Isn’t that just for their low end devices?

    • Guest

      That’s my understanding too.

    • Sweet

      I believe it is just for low-end devices.

    • Sweet

      I haven’t heard those rumours. That would surprise me very much. Although, now that I think about it, it would be a signal that the smartphone market is saturated — all those who would be interested switching to smartphones have already done so. And that really was the point of Google’s Nexus line: sell a smartphone at cost to get more people to switch to smartphones, thus increasing usage of Google’s services.

      It would be a shame for consumers, since the Nexus line provides more bang-for-the-buck than any other smartphone.

      However, other handset makers would certainly welcome the news. :-)

    • cartfan88

      We’ve already seen 1st hand what type of pricing Samsung has in mind when you look at the Note Tablet 2014. To be clear it means higher….Apple style.

    • MrMastodonFarm

      Rumours of Nexus line getting axed?
      Citation needed.

    • IJustGotaTan

      Ever heard of Google search? That news was all over it yesterday.

    • MrMastodonFarm

      No, I’ve never heard of Google search. Staunch Alta VIsta user here.

    • realitycheck

      douche

    • rgl168

      Do a search on “Edgar Murtazin Google Nexus” and you’ll get a few articles on the topic

    • cartfan88

      Had Samsung done that it would have made Moto even more strategically important to Google with LG, Asus, Acer all licking their chops also. And Samsung could go off and become the next HP with their version of webos.

    • alphs22

      You think Samsung has the power to strongarm Google to quit hardware because of Tizen?

      Let’s be realistic here.

  • Sweet

    It looks to me like Google had no intentions of keeping Motorola long term. Just buy the company, keep what you want (patents, taxable losses) and sell off the rest.

    I suspect the US government will allow the sale of Moto to a Chinese company, since it appears the US government and military don’t use Moto handsets. At least, not the smartphones. I’m pretty sure the military and law enforcement use Moto stuff like radios, though.

  • Sweet

    It looks to me like Google had no intentions of keeping Motorola long term. Just buy the company, keep what you want (patents, taxable losses) and sell off the rest.

    I suspect the US government will allow the sale of Moto to a Chinese company, since it appears the US government and military don’t use Moto handsets. At least, not the smartphones. I’m pretty sure the military and law enforcement use Moto stuff like radios, though.

    • aamd11

      Different company, Moto was split in two before Google bought them, the radios, monitoring systems etc are all part of Motorola Solutions, this is Motorola Mobility

    • Sweet

      OK, that’s what I thought.

    • rgl168

      The “Motorola” that you are thinking about (the radio business) is Motorola Solutions, which is a separate company than Motorola Mobility. Other than the name “Motorola” being in common, the two are legally distinct.

  • IJustGotaTan

    This is great news. I can see Lenovo really pushing the mobile side of their business with this.

  • Rich

    If you’re a sports fan you know that virtually every GM is virtually “in talks” for any reasonably good player, but it all amounts to price.

  • Merags

    Ugh. So if Nexus gets axed (and Play Edition devices aren’t available to Canada), and Moto is Lenovo, my choices for stock android are…..???? Awesome…..

    • IJustGotaTan

      Custom ROM?

    • Merags

      Yes, but I don’t think that should be the only option available to those that want stock.

  • wes

    I’M SHOCKED!! Lenovo is a pretty good company with a good perceived track record. Personally, I think they’ll be very successful. They had bought IBM’s computer division (thinkpad) and I’ve always only bought Thinkpads until I recently picked up my Surface Pro. I guess we’ll have to stay tuned.

  • Pigs Can Fly

    Wow. I honestly don’t think this is a good idea.

    PS- my Rogers Moto X got the 4.4.2 update!

    • Lyndon Boychuk

      Yuppers…my moto x provided me with that happy news about an hour ago as well. Joy!!

  • MXH070

    Nice the government of China is now in the North American cell phone business. Guess they couldn’t get in with ZTE, Huawei so send in leveno and buy an American cell company as they won’t ban it for sales. So Google lost 9.5 billion or more…

  • Scazza

    Ugh, this is most unfortunate. After buying a Moto G, after years of hating and shunning Moto products, I was coming around. When their CEO announced that $50 handsets were going to be a thing, I was intrigued. I was even planning on yearly updating my phone to whatever cheap/premium phones they brought out (like the G). Now that Lenovo is at the helm, there is no way in hell that will ever happen.

  • Anthony Benel

    Google buys Motorola Mobility for the patents. The handset division was not targeted. Google turns around the failing handset division and speeds up momentum of Motorola Mobility, then sells. Brilliant!

    Blackberry sale to foreign investors was blocked because the backend technology/security. Mostly government and corporation use Blackberry.

  • barrist

    lol

  • Noah Roesler

    Idk why everyone is so devastated… Lenovo is awesome

  • jason

    So Google creates Nexus program, floods the market with high powered stock android devices at a financial loss to gain userbase into the Android ecosystem, then dumps the Nexus program to go with super high priced Special Edition phones with hardware manufacturers that run stock android. You almost made me think you were going to do something better then that with the purchase of Motorola. Living up to what you stated, you stripped it down and sold the scrap. Awesome job. Get the Nexus while it still exists and plan to spend triple the amount of $ on your next Lenova/Samsung/LG/Asus phone.

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