In an interesting move, superpower Google bought the consumer-oriented arm of Motorola known as Motorola Mobility for a cool $12.5 billion (at a price of $40 per share) on Monday. In a press release the pending acquisition is explained:
The acquisition of Motorola Mobility, a dedicated Android partner, will enable Google to supercharge the Android ecosystem and will enhance competition in mobile computing. Motorola Mobility will remain a licensee of Android and Android will remain open. Google will run Motorola Mobility as a separate business.
Google CEO Larry Page says, ”Motorola Mobility’s total commitment to Android has created a natural fit for our two companies. Together, we will create amazing user experiences that supercharge the entire Android ecosystem for the benefit of consumers, partners and developers. I look forward to welcoming Motorolans to our family of Googlers.”
This is a huge move made by Google. Like Microsoft and Nokia, Google and Motorola are going to take advantage of their partnership by harnessing the power of Android software and the might of Moto’s hardware to create amazing products for consumers. Keep in mind that the Mobility division goes beyond smartphones and also includes other consumer devices like set top boxes; no doubt Google will work with Motorola to ensure the growth of products like Google TV. And on the business end of things, the acquisition ”will increase competition by strengthening Google’s patent portfolio, which will enable us to better protect Android from anti-competitive threats from Microsoft, Apple and other companies,” says Page.
As the acquisition takes hold, a few questions remain. What will happen to Moto’s custom Android skin called MotoBlur? Will all future handsets built by Moto come loaded with the latest version of plain vanilla Android? Will the next Nexus phone come from Goog’s new partner? Time will tell.
One thing’s for certain: even though Google and Moto are tied to one another, the Android platform remains open for all hardware manufacturers to utilize; healthy competition is here to stay. Full PR after the break.
Skype, the ubiquitous video chat client, is now owned by the makers of Windows. Microsoft acquired Skype this week; it cost them a whopping $8.5 billion in cash to finalize the deal. According to the official press release:
The acquisition will increase the accessibility of real-time video and voice communications, bringing benefits to both consumers and enterprise users and generating significant new business and revenue opportunities. The combination will extend Skype’s world-class brand and the reach of its networked platform, while enhancing Microsoft’s existing portfolio of real-time communications products and services.
But what does this mean for you? Microsoft says Skype will come to support Xbox and Kinect, Windows Phone and a wide array of Windows devices and will connect Skype users with Lync, Outlook, Xbox Live and other communities. Communication across these Microsoft products and services is about to get a whole lot better and mainstreamed, so long as CEO Steve Ballmer and co. don’t screw things up. And don’t worry about losing your current Skype experience you’re accustomed to. The press release goes on to state that “Microsoft will continue to invest in and support Skype clients on non-Microsoft platforms.”
Effective immediately Skype is a new business division within Microsoft, Skype CEO Tony Bates is now president of said division and he will report directly to Ballmer. Full PR after the break.
Well here’s some interesting Sunday news for you. This afternoon AT&T announced a definitive agreement with Deutsche Telekom (T-Mobile USA’s German-based parent company) under which AT&T will acquire T-Mobile USA from Deutsche Telekom in a cash-and-stock transaction valued at $39 billion. Should this deal go through, it will bring together T-Mobile’s current subscriber base of 33 million and AT&T’s 95 million customers thus making Ma Bell the largest wireless provider in the United States (for comparison’s sake, Verizon has 94 million customers). Furthermore, it will situate AT&T as the sole GSM provider to compete against CDMA rivals Verizon Wireless and Sprint. As far as 4G connectivity is concerned, AT&T plans to take advantage of T-Mobile’s installed infrastructure to significantly expand 4G LTE deployment to 95 percent of the U.S. population–reaching an additional 46.5 million Americans beyond current plans.
Says AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson: “This transaction represents a major commitment to strengthen and expand critical infrastructure for our nation’s future. It will improve network quality, and it will bring advanced LTE capabilities to more than 294 million people.”
Obviously the acquisition is subject to regulatory approvals, but if all goes smoothly the transaction will close in about 12 months, AT&T will have eaten up T-Mobile USA, and Deutsche Telekom will have an 8 percent stake in AT&T. Look after the break for the official PR statements from AT&T and Deutsche Telekom that cover the basics summarized here as well as additional notes about competition and financial information. Click through the gallery of images below to see how the merger will affect coverage in America.
On Wednesday HP announced its plans to buy out Palm for $1.2 billion, or at a price of $5.70 per share of Palm common stock. This is big news, and it’s quite shocking. Palm’s existance takes the shape of a rollercoaster ride. Since its inception in 1996, Palm introduced the world to some of the first personal device assistants (PDAs) with the Palm Pilot, the Handspring Treo, Treo and Centro smartphones, and the failed experiment that was Folio. After nearly facing its demise, Jon Rubinstein (who helped invent the iPod) left Apple to help ressurect Palm. And so he replaced Ed Colligan as CEO, created a new mobile operating system called WebOS, and pushed out two new smartphones, the Palm Pre and Palm Pixi. Thanks to a downright scary marketing campaign (watch this commercial if you dare) and tough business decisions (making the Pre exclusive to Sprint), Palm’s stock took another nosedive and rumors of a buyout quickly surfaced. Tech companies like HTC and Lenovo sat at the top of analyst’s lists as possible companies to gobble up Palm. And then, all of a sudden, HP literally came out of no where to seal the deal. And look at that, we’ve made it to present day.
HP will officially acquire Palm during HP’s third fiscal quarter, or by July 31. So what does this mean for the two entities? Right now this is what Palm’s got: the Pre, the Pixi, and most important to HP, WebOS. HP’s executive VP Todd Bradley says, “Palm’s innovative operating system provides an ideal platform to expand HP’s mobility strategy and create a unique HP experience spanning multiple mobile connected devices.” Essentially, HP is going to take everything WebOS and run with it across a wide range of devices. Which means you can plan to see it running on smartphones and potentially netbooks and tablets. All this begs the question, what will become of the HP Slate now that WebOS is on the table? Only time will tell.
It’s been confirmed that Palm CEO Jon Rubinstein will stay onboard with the majority of senior team members at the company. Also, the current Palm hardware roadmap has not been affected by the merger. All signs point a happy marrige. Says Rubinstein: “We look forward to working with HP to continue to deliver industry-leading mobile experiences to our customers and business partners.” He added, “I don’t think HP would do this unless they were willing to make the kind of investment necessary to win.” What’s interesting here, though, is that HP signed up to be an initial key partner with Microsoft for Windows Phone 7. Also, HP already has their less-than-successful line of iPaq smartphones. Will Palm become iPaq or stay Palm? All of these questions will likely be answered sometime between now and July. All in all, the acquisition is a big win for consumers (and Palm, really) as it will breath new life into the emerging WebOS platform and introduce new hardware on a whole new scale of innovation.
Look after the break for the official PR and a letter written by Rubenstein to his company.