Google has now waved goodbye to Motorola and Lenovo has welcomed it with open arms — and open wallets. Having changed hands for $2.91bn, Motorola is now free from the shackles of Google and could conceivably start to venture out into new areas. But how likely is this? Could we see a Windows Phone bearing the Motorola logo?
All of this is some time off. The sale has yet to be approved in China and the US, and it could be a while before this formality is complete. But there’s a lot to think about in the meantime. Google CEO, Larry Page, is understandably upbeat about the sale. Writing on the official Google blog, he implies that the initial purchase of Motorola back in 2012 was merely about acquiring patents with a view to “supercharging” the Android ecosystem (and a stronger patent portfolio for Google).
But now Google gets to retain “the vast majority of Motorola’s patents” and offload the company onto someone else — “we believe that Motorola will be better served by Lenovo”. According to Page, “Lenovo intends to keep Motorola’s distinct brand identity”, but this could mean little more than continuing to use the name.
Regardless of how things look for Google — some analysts are suggesting that the sale looks like an embarrassing admission of failure, while others see it as a savvy move, ditching a brand that is not yielding startling sales and hanging onto all of those juicy patents — Motorola’s move to Lenovo does open up an intriguing possibility. No longer under the Android and Google thumb, could we see Motorola branching out into new areas? It is something the company has previously suggested it would be open to.
Although Nokia does not quite have a monopoly in the Windows Phone market, it is the name most people associate with this particular breed of handset. Other manufacturers are involved in Windows Phone, competition is always good for the market, and it would be great for another player to join the party.
It’s not yet clear how much money, time and effort Lenovo is going to pump into the Motorola brand, but it is clear the company will want to get value for the money it is parting with. It is possible that this could mean investigating new ground, maybe even going as far as producing a Lumia competitor. But regardless of whether Lenovo does decide to go down this route, it’s good news for Windows Phone. If a new range of handsets are produced, everyone wins — Nokia has more competition, buyers have more choice and there is likely to be greater innovation.
Should Lenovo decide to keep the Motorola/Android link and ignore Windows Phone, Nokia will be able to steal more of the lower end of the market. Nokia has deeper pockets than Lenovo and would be better able to sell low-end (or even mid-range) handsets at little or no profit. It’s hard to image Lenovo doing this for its new baby, so it is easy to see Windows Phone becoming a more attractive choice.
This sale is extremely intriguing, and there are some intriguing times ahead. But what do you feel about it all?
Would you buy a Motorola Windows Phone now the firm is under Lenovo’s wing? How likely do you think it is that such a phone will emerge?Further reading: Google, Microsoft, Windows Phone