China finally approves Google’s takeover of Motorola, on one condition
After having previously been approved by both the US and the EU, Google’s bid to purchase Motorola Mobility has finally been given the go-ahead by Chinese authorities as well. And they certainly took their time.
Google announced that it wanted to buy Motorola in August of last year, and ever since then the companies have had to wait to obtain all the necessary approvals. Since China has been the only hold-out so far, after getting this approval, the deal between Motorola and Google is expected to finally close in a few weeks, if not days.
China has given the international community a few reasons for concern, since it dragged the approval process along for as long as it could. And given Google’s not exactly excellent relationship with China over the past couple of years or so, some feared that the Motorola deal would be hindered by the Chinese.
But all’s well that ends well, as they say. China did impose a condition on Google, though: Andorid has to remain free and open to all for at least five more years. We can’t imagine that Google was upset with this condition at all, so that’s that.
If you’re wondering why this condition was brought up, don’t forget that Android is the dominant mobile OS in China, even if Google’s apps rarely show up in a smartphone shipping over there. Furthermore, every Chinese carrier has some sort of programme to bring to market its ‘own’ mobile OS, all of these efforts being in fact based on Android. So it’s pretty important for the Chinese market for Android to remain open source and free to use.
Perhaps there was a slight fear in China (but not only) that once Google has Motorola, it will cease to allow other phone makers to use Android. That is a bit nonsensical, since at the moment, Samsung is by far the biggest Android phone maker. Why would Google shoot Android’s market share in the foot like that?
I don’t see any reason for Google to give Motorola any special treatment, though the one thing I certainly hope the new owner will give Moto will be an incentive to work harder and faster on OS updates. And not let recently-sold devices rot in no-upgrade land ever again. One can dream, right?