China has cleared Google’s acquisition of Motorola on the condition that Android will be free and open for at least another five years. With the acquisition of Motorola, Google would have both, a specialized Android related hardware segment and the Android software under its control. Seeing this, China raised its eyebrows and refused to clear the deal until Google agreed not to create a lock-in situation in the Android market.
China has a number of low-cost Android device manufacturers who rely on the Android ecosystem created by the Open Handset Alliance. A few years from now, if Google starts giving Motorola priority over other handset manufacturers, it might create an antitrust situation. China took good care to make sure that this does not happen, though it is interesting to note that Google never suggested that it would do so in the first place. Truth be told, Google does not even have the power to do so, because Android is managed by the Open Handset Alliance and Google is only the largest contributor. Then why did China go through all this trouble?
Perhaps China was skeptical that Google might try to address the Android hardware fragmentation problem by monopolizing the market, now that it controls both the software and a big chunk of the hardware. Whatever may be the case, the good news is that Android has always been free and will be free for the next five years.
Given the price of this deal, which stands at 12.5 billion USD and is larger than all other Google acquisitions combined, Google is placing a huge bet on Motorola Mobility and it will be interesting to see what synergy this acquisition creates.
In other news, Microsoft clears a case win (just in time) against Motorola over ActiveSync.
(Via: The Verge)