While Google’s acquisition of Motorola’s handset business brings potentially rich rewards in terms of intellectual property, the search firm must be careful to keep its new employees at a respectable distance, industry analysts have warned.
Malik Saadi, principal analyst at Informa, said that if Google were to extend any special privilege or exclusivity around Android to Motorola, it would send “a really bad signal” to other Android vendors, including HTC, Samsung and LG.
Meanwhile, Nick Dillon of Ovum said that Google’s move from “the position of partner to that of competitor to Android handset manufacturers” risked putting a “significant strain” on the Android ecosystem.
Dillon suggested that some kind of preferential arrangement between Google and Motorola was “not beyond the realm of imagination”, adding that Google risked pushing its other handset partners towards alternative platforms. Microsoft could be one beneficiary, he suggested, although it was precisely the same kind of arrangement established between Microsoft and Nokia that was judged by many to have damaged wider enthusiasm for Windows Phone 7 among the handset vendor community.
Saadi argued that Google was unlikely to favour Motorola. “There has been speculation about Google moving towards vertical ecosystems. But I don’t think this will happen. Google’s business case is not about hardware or software, it’s about getting the widest adoption of Android that it can and then leveraging its services over the platform.”