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Google-Motorola Debacle: How Badly Did They Mess Up?

January 30, 2014 - Written By Patrick Northcraft

Barely even 2 years after Google purchased Motorola for a whopping $12.5 billion, Lenovo purchased it from them for a measly $2.91 billion.  Google also sold off Motorola’s cable box device to the Arris Group for $2.3 billion, but overall it is clear that Google has lost close to $6.5 billion dollars through these investments.  When Google bought Motorola, they hoped that their patent portfolio would strengthen the Android infrastructure and allow for massive growth.  This plan also failed, as the patents actually brought down a bunch of courtroom cases and Patent War losses to many companies.  Google has faced its fair share of courtroom battles, and not all of them have been in their favor.  Motorola did win a court case against Windows maker Microsoft, but they only won $1.76 million as opposed to the $4 billion they originally demanded for patent infringement and royalty payments.

While Motorola has released many new devices that have received some good critical acclaim, the devices themselves have not sold particularly well.  In Motorola’s most recent report, they revealed that they suffered a loss of $248 million, which, needless to say, is not that good.  As some people say, Samsung may have had something to do with this deal, at least indirectly.  Speculation aside, Google may be losing Motorola, but they will be gaining a great partner with Samsung.  Hopefully, Lenovo can pull their weight as the number two handset manufacturer in China and grow the Android market exponentially.  Albeit, Lenovo has succeeded with the ThinkPad business that they acquired from IBM, so hopefully they have similar luck with Motorola.  Google is not just giving up everything they spent $12.5 billion on, however, as they will be keeping the majority of Motorola’s patents.  Google must see some value in these, as they are willing to keep them even after suffering this much of a loss.  I really hope they know what they are doing, as the market could definitely use more competition and innovation.  While we can question if Google really wanted Motorola proper or just their patents, we can certainly see that the way Google went about this was definitely not the most cost-effective way.  What do you think?  Has Google made a huge mistake?  Let us know that and any other thoughts down below!