Photo: Flickr/Rodney Buike
You may have missed it, but Google is no longer just Google.Now it’s Google with a dying elephant strapped to its back.
The dying elephant is Motorola Mobility, the ancient, massive mobile phone and cable-box maker that Google finally bought about a month ago.
In the days after Google announced the Motorola deal last year, everyone complimented Google for being so brilliant as to have bought a huge portfolio of patents that just happened to come with a mediocre global manufacturing business that Google would obviously instantly spin off.
But in the intervening year it has become clear that Google has no intention of spinning off that mediocre global manufacturing business.
Rather, Google now appears to want to go head to head with Apple (and, now, Microsoft) in making integrated smartphones and tablets.
That sounds exciting in theory, but in practice it’s likely to be a nightmare.
Like other hardware manufacturers (RIM, Palm, Nokia), Motorola is struggling. And Google does not bring much to Motorola that Motorola did not already have. Google, meanwhile, knows nothing about running a global hardware manufacturing business, so the likelihood that Google is going to be able to wave a magic wand and transform Motorola into Apple seems unlikely, to say the least.
You can read all about why we think the Motorola deal could be a disaster here.
In the meantime, here’s what Google’s CFO had to say about Motorola at Google’s shareholder meeting yesterday.
Per analyst Doug Anmuth of JP Morgan, Google CFO Patrick Pichette said Google is preparing to “reset and retool” Motorola.
We hope you know what that’s likely code for:
Probably a lot of them.
And it also means that Google will likely slice and dice Motorola and sell off some parts.
This sounds simple, but don’t forget that Motorola is a vast, sprawling, global business. So “resetting and retooling” it is going to be easier said than done. And Google shareholders can only hope that Motorola doesn’t pull a Nokia in the meantime.
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