As we reported this morning, Motorola apparently just bought Azingo, a little known startup which makes a mobile operating system.
Motorola, which had been quite troubled lately, basically bet its fortunes on the Android operating system, and its Android phones have been selling like hotcakes lately.
So why buy a startup that makes mobile operating systems?
Maybe this is a small acqui-hire for Motorola to get smart developers to work on unrelated software.
Maybe Motorola is working on its own OS, but this seems incredibly unlikely to us: mobile operating systems is a platform game, an incredibly brutal one where even savvy giants like Microsoft and Nokia are fumbling. Motorola knows it doesn’t have the resources or the skills to do this. It should stick to what it knows: make sleek hardware and market it to teenage males, and let a partner handle the software.
But we think there’s another, more likely, possibility.
Motorola does a lot of business in China, and wants to do a lot more. And as we know, Google isn’t exactly on the best terms with the Chinese government right now, or for the foreseeable future. This is a problem for Motorola. It’s resorted to awkward workarounds like taking Google search out of its Android phones in China and building its own Chinese app store.
If Motorola wants to go strong on China, it can’t rely on Google. The next logical step is to build its own OS for the phones it sells in China, and keep selling Android handsets elsewhere.