Google moves ahead with Motorola Mobility officially in tow

by David Needle

May 22 2012

New Motorola Mobility CEO Dennis Woodside says the company will focus on "fewer, bigger bets."
New Motorola Mobility CEO Dennis Woodside says the company will focus on "fewer, bigger bets."

Google’s massive $12.5 billion purchase of Motorola Mobility cleared its final regulatory hurdle and is now part of the search giant’s growing empire.

In a blog post announcing the deal, Google CEO Larry Page also revealed changes in the executive ranks. Motorola Mobility CEO Sanjay Jha is stepping down and will be replaced by Dennis Woodside, who had been the company’s President of Operations in the Americas. 

“I’ve known Dennis for nearly a decade, and he’s been phenomenal at building teams and delivering on some of Google’s biggest bets,” said Page. Among other accomplishments, Woodside helped build Google’s business across the Middle East, Africa, Eastern Europe and Russia. More recently Page said Woodside helped increase Google’s revenue in the U.S. from $10.8 billion to $17.5 billion in under three years. 

Page credited Motorola with 80 years of innovation including the creation of the first cellphone. Motorola was also an early backer of Google’s Android strategy. 

Some red flags over the deal were raised early on by analysts and competitors who worried Google would give preference to Motorola Mobilty by way of early or more comprehensive access to Android code and developments. But Google has steadfastly denied it will engage in any favoritism, and has maintained its committed to keeping Android open and widely accessible. 

After clearing approval by U.S. and European regulators, the final hurdle to the deal was with Chinese regulators. A condition of their approval was Google’s agreement to keep Android open source for the next five years.

There are also rumors Google plans to sell its own branded tablets via the Google Play online storefront. Those devices are due out later this year. Asus was pegged at the main manufacturer partner, but a recent report by the Wall Street Journal indicates Google may work with as many as five different manufacturers, including Motorola Mobility, to sell the new devices. 

“Many users coming online today may never use a desktop machine, and the impact of that transition will be profound--as will the ability to just tap and pay with your phone,” said Page, wrapping up his blog post. “That’s why it’s a great time to be in the mobile business, and why I’m confident Dennis and the team at Motorola will be creating the next generation of mobile devices that will improve lives for years to come.” 

In a separate news release, Woodside said under Google, Motorola Mobility will focus "on fewer, bigger bets, and create wonderful devices that are used by people around the world.”

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