GOOGLE’S NEW DIRECTION: Google made headlines yesterday when the company confirmed they will be selling off the Motorola Mobility handset division to Lenovo for about $US3 billion. Google originally acquired Motorola Mobility in 2012, just 19 months ago, for a steep $US12.5 billion. Earlier in the week, Samsung signed a 10-year patent cross-licensing deal that will cover thousands of patents that each company holds and ease the threat of future patent litigation. The two moves were likely correlated.
With Google selling off its handset division, the company is also no longer in direct competition with Samsung and this will help the partnership between the two companies. After agreeing to the deal, many publications reported Google requested that Samsung dial back on its Android interface and user experience and bring it more in line with how Google envisions Android. It’s another move Google has made in order to clamp down on the Android “open-source” idea, and to protect itself from losing control of its own platform.
What these two moves suggest is that Google has taken a firm stance in the mobile industry as the top OS platform provider and partner to handset manufacturers. The two moves were likely highly correlated. While Google is taking a bit of a loss by spinning off Motorola, it no longer has to be in competition with its Android customers. In fact, spinning Motorola off to Lenovo helps Google bolster the handset business of one of its fastest-growing partners. And in making patent peace with Samsung, Google implies a much more hand-in-glove relationship with the world’s top Android vendor, helping ensure that Google’s vision of Android stays intact. Even more directly, selling Motorola means Google is no longer operating a loss-leading handset subsidiary, especially when the Motorola acquisition was first and foremost a patent harvest; Google will be keeping a significant portion of those patents it wanted in the first place.
Larry Page gave more insight into Google’s new pragmatic approach to smartphones by saying, “… The smartphone market is super competitive, and to thrive it helps to be all-in when it comes to making mobile devices.” Clearly, Google does not want to mirror Apple in being an all-in-one mobile hardware and software behemoth. Instead, Google can now calmly watch its vision of Android grow while devoting more of its resources toward innovating the products and services it believes will soon takeover — robotics, home automation, and artificial intelligence. (GigaOm)
LENOVO EXPLAINS ITS SIDE OF THE DEAL: Lenovo held a press conference yesterday to officially announce its acquisition of Motorola Mobility. Re/code has a rundown of the talk and all of the details Lenovo shared surrounding the deal. One big takeaway is this deal seems like a solid bridge for Lenovo’s future entry into the U.S. smartphone market. (Re/code)
AMAZON KINDLE POINT-OF-SALE: Amazon is looking to bolster its presence in the offline commerce and payments world and will do so by offering bricks-and-mortar establishments a Kindle tablet checkout system. Amazon can offer the tablet and a credit card reader, but its leverage may come by offering added services like website development and data analysis. (Wall Street Journal)
FACEBOOK EARNINGS: Facebook is now more of a mobile advertising company than anything else. Mobile ad revenue made up a majority 53% of Facebook’s revenue in the fourth quarter, a new all-time high. Of its 1.23 billion monthly active users, 945 million access Facebook from mobile. (Facebook)
FACEBOOK PAPER: Paper is a new standalone mobile app from Facebook. The app presents an entirely new card-based user interface and more content posting tools, with the end goal of getting users to start posting and creating more mobile media content. (Re/code)
BIGGER THAN WHATSAPP, LINE, AND WECHAT? African mobile messaging app Mxit is attempting to crack the Indian market and it believes it can surpass messaging stalwarts like WhatsApp, LINE, and WeChat in the country. For comparison, Mxit has 7.4 million active users globally while WhatsApp has 35 million users in India alone. So what makes Mxit think it can really compete? The messaging app is accessible on feature phones, which took up 80% of mobile phone shipments in India in the third quarter of 2013. (Quartz)
CORRECTION: In Tuesday’s Mobile Insider newsletter, “Internet Advertising Boom — Apple Earnings Roundup — Angry Birds NSA,” we incorrectly cited Nielsen’s figures for online advertising as including mobile, specifically multiscreen ad campaigns. Nielsen’s figures exclude online video, mobile, and search ads. We regret the error.
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