Some pretty wild tech news hit the wire on Wednesday afternoon when Google announced that it was selling its Motorola Mobility unit to Lenovo for $2.9 billion, a drastic price reduction from the $12.5 billion Google initially layed out for the company in May of 2012.
Going back in time a bit, it's helpful to re-visit the strategy behind Google's initial Motorola acquisition. First off, it was widely assumed that Google was interested in Motorola on account of the company's extensive patent portfolio. With Apple attacking Android handset makers at every turn, the thinking at the time was that Google's Motorola acquisition would help bolster Google's own patent holdings, and by extension, help its multitude of Android partners. Second, and not too often reported, is that Google swooped in and purchased Motorola at an inflated price because of well-placed concerns that Motorola was going to start manufacturing Windows Phone devices. As this story goes, Google wanted to prevent this scenario at all costs, hence the $12.5 billion acquisition.
But once under the Google umbrella, Motorola smartphones never really took the tech world by storm. To date, neither the Motorola Moto G nor Moto X have made much of a dent in the smartphone market, where both Apple and Samsung continue to account for the bulk of industry profits and market share.
In a press release announcing the sale, Google CEO Larry Page said: "Lenovo has the expertise and track record to scale Motorola Mobility into a major player within the Android ecosystem. This move will enable Google to devote our energy to driving innovation across the Android ecosystem, for the benefit of smartphone users everywhere."
One thing about Google, they sure know how to keep things interesting.