Google has announced it will acquire Motorola's phone division in a deal set to close by early 2012.
The search engine giant, which launched the open source Android OS in 2008, said Motorola Mobility will be run as a separate business and the company will remain a licensee of Android – which will remain an open platform available to any manufacturer.
Google CEO Larry Page said that the move would increase Android's ability to compete in the smartphone space, particularly in light of recent anti-competitive patent attacks direct at the Android platform. 'Our acquisition of Motorola will increase competition by strengthening Google's patent portfolio,' he said.
Though Google has worked with HTC and Samsung to create its Nexus range handsets, taking full control over hardware design, its acquisition of Motorola means it will now release handsets that are fully in-house designed – like iPhones and BlackBerrys. Motorola was one of the first manufacturers to make Android phones, at the exclusion of other OSes, including its proprietary interface and Windows Mobile.
'In 2008, Motorola bet big on Android as the sole operating system across all of its smartphone devices. It was a smart bet and we're thrilled at the success they've achieved so far. Together, we will create amazing user experiences that supercharge the entire Android ecosystem for the benefit of consumers, partners and developers," said Page. 'I look forward to welcoming Motorolans to our family of Googlers.'
A statement from both companies said the transaction was unanimously approved by both companies. The deal closed for US$12.5 billion (£7.7bn), 63% more than Motorola shares were worth on Friday 12 August. Not bad for Moto – and it looks like Google predicts a very, very bright future in Goog-o-Moto phones.