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What Will Google Do?

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I was shaken out of my Independence Day slumber with the news that the Big G will be  buying up Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion.  Usually, I'm averse to the cliche' "Only time will tell." As one of my bosses used to say: Then go read Time.

But in this case it really is time that will tell what Google will do with Motorola. Google CEO Larry Page says now that Googlers and Motorolans have become one big happy family, they can get down to "supercharge" Android. That could mean anything. I'm also none the wiser after Senior VP of Mobile Andy Rubin's statement about the new combination breaking new ground for the Android ecosystem.

At this point, how Google-Motorola will impact the smartphone landscape isn't clear - and nor  will it be until next year. Regulatory approval hasn't even happened yet. Right now Google has only "agreed" (what, at gunpoint?) to acquire Motorola. But two possibilities are hinted at in Larry Page's post.  For one thing, he has elaborated on what the world already knows: Motorola is an innovations company, with pioneering experience in mobile technology. What, however, will Google do with Motorola's expertise? Will it be involved in or controlling hardware for Android superplrones? That could give them the kind of edge Apple has with its complete control over both the software and hardware. Then, all it needs is to go buy up Wallamart. But somehow it's difficult to see Google as a handset manufacturer  - though you never do know what Google will make; if it can make cars... What message would the other 38 manufactures get if Google were to extra-focus hardware innovation with one company?

The other factor is of Motorola's 17000-plus patents. Now, the patent game is a tough one for ordinary mortals like me to understand. But it's clear enough that they are playing a tricky and increasing role in the oneupsmanship of tech companies as well as impacting many aspects of business financials, product cycles and competitiveness.

Microsoft and Nokia, and Apple and Apple already have their patents in place. With the marriage to Motorola, Google would also have their arsenal of patents. This may even out the playing field somewhat.

Whatever happens, Google plus Motorola is definitely bigger than Google, so the Android wave can only be better off than it was – and that will benefit all parties concerned.

Meanwhile, we can only amuse ourselves with new baby names: Motoogle... Googerola...

Mala Bhargava is a personal technology writer and media professional. Contact her at and @malabhargava on Twitter