Google may have offered to sell Motorola’s handset division to Huawei
Last August Google listened to our advice and decided to acquire Motorola. The deal still hasn’t gone through though as we stand here almost 8 months later, since the Mountain View company is waiting for the relevant Chinese authorities to approve of the takeover. Which authorities are taking their sweet time, perhaps not unrelated to Google’s withdrawal from China a while back.
While all that gets sorted out, everyone’s wondering what Google will do with Motorola. How it will run the company. The acquisition was made in great part for Motorola’s patents. But does that mean that Google simply doesn’t want (or need) Moto’s handset division, for example?
If a recent report from the WSJ is to be believed, then the answer might be yes. Apparently, rumors from Asia claim that Google has offered to sell the handset division to China’s Huawei. And for a high price, no less.
Buying Moto’s handset arm (alongside the rights to use the Motorola brand, undoubtedly) would certainly make sense for Huawei. The company looks like it’s finally serious about international expansion this year, and the Motorola brand is clearly more familiar to those in developed markets than Huawei.
I insist on the brand because honestly I think that’s all that Huawei would be interested in. Motorola hasn’t had any major hardware breakthrough in quite a while (unless you count the Droid RAZR‘s thinness – but wait, Huawei already created a thinner smartphone than that!), and Huawei is capable on churning out smartphones in its own factories. Perhaps even cheaper than what Moto can do right now.
Some of Moto’s R&D staff could also benefit the Chinese company, but that’s about it. Taking over thousands of employees located in dozens of centres across the world doesn’t make much sense, from a financial standpoint, for Huawei. Still, supposing the company is obsessed with gaining access to the Motorola brand, it could even accept that.
So what about Google? Why would it sell off the handset division? The first reason is obvious. To not upset the other Android device makers. Motorola is far from being the biggest of those, and if Google really invests in handset development and comes out with great phones, the other companies that depend on Android devices for their revenues might get quite upset – maybe even leave the ecosystem, or just fork Android like Amazon has done and skip bundling Google’s services.
Google may also have some issues in dealing with a hardware business, since it’s never done that before on this scale. So getting rid of the handset division might, in a way, attempt to guard it from some possible headaches.
Will this happen? Well, it’s nothing but a rumor right now. Still, as I’ve shown above, it very well might. But it would be as easy for it not to. The truth is no one really knows what Google’s planning for Motorola. Here’s hoping that Google executives will tell us more about their plans after the acquisition gets finalized.