Photo: Associated Press
In addition to its robust handset division, Motorola Mobility boasts a set-top division.In a perfect world, Google would use that expertise to build a better box and compete with the cable companies.
Slate’s Farhad Manjoo thinks that won’t happen. Even if Google wanted to – a BIG if considering the headache incorporating Motorola is going to be – the cable companies won’t let it happen.
Cable companies have fought every effort to let third-party equipment, like television sets, access their content. Over the last decade the Federal Communications Commission pushed a technical standard called CableCARD which was meant to force TV companies to make their programming compatible with standard consumer-electronic devices; the cable industry has shunned that effort, and there are very few CableCARD-enabled devices on the market.
Google isn’t likely to want to start that battle. (It’s already failed once in the TV world.)
Manjoo notes that “Google could get several billion dollars for the Motorola Mobility’s set-top-box division if it tried to sell it off after the merger closes.” That’s a much better play.
Unless, of course, Larry Page decides to shock the world. Again.
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