Has Google Burned Bridges With the Motorola Acquisition?
While I only follow and write about technology as a personal pastime, most of my business and work experience is focused on product distribution and marketing as well as the retail sales trade. That said, having been exposed to marketing and retail for my entire life I like to think that I have a pretty good idea of what works and what doesn’t work when it comes to pushing products not only to consumers but to manufacturers and resellers as well. And this is one of the reasons that I personally have found Apple’s business strategy so ingenious. By controlling the software and hardware for all of their devices, as well as their own retail stores, the company has managed to eliminate a great deal of hassle that a traditional business would have to go through in order to get their goods on retail shelves.
Because Apple writes their own software and designs their own hardware, they don’t have to worry about getting hardware manufactures to go along with their ideas, and perhaps more importantly the company can sell their goods through their own retail channels without having to worry about stepping on the toes of the other stores and merchants that sell their products.
But even though this is a very clever way of going about business, Apple’s strategy is most definitely not the only way to go about things. Google, for example, has done very well over the last few years by writing and maintaining the Android mobile operating system that is implemented onto devices produced by a handful of hardware manufactures. Sure, this more traditional approach doesn’t offer Google the same amount of control that Apple has had, but in its own advantage Google has been able to focus on the OS development and has essentially been able to go about their business without having to put much thought into hardware.
Now that Google is buying out Motorola Mobility, this comfort that Google has had for the last several years is sure to go away once Google gets deeply involved in the actual hardware development, manufacturing, marketing, and sales processes.
Don’t get me wrong, I think Google is more than prepared to take on this additional workload, but what really worries me is the fact that Google is making such a sudden change in venture that I honestly think it will backfire on them.
You see, Google has maintained awesome relationships with their hardware partners such as HTC in order to get the Android operating system onto handsets and into the hands of consumers. And while that deal has worked well for so long now, Google really has turned the tables by working themselves into the hardware field as well.
Think about it. How much do you think HTC is going to want to work with Google and the Android operating system when they know that they are going to be working with a company that produces devices that will be sitting right next to their own products on store shelves? Really, how willing will you be to compete with a company that you already do business with; a company that has become a vital aspect of your business plan?
At the same time, I also think that this move may very well strengthen Google’s relationship with its manufactures, as Google’s acquisition of Motorola’s patents essentially makes them a monopoly in the mobile industry; a monopoly that other manufactures may be forced to go through to get rights to use their patents.
I do see where this whole move could actually be better for competition (Google-manufactured devices will likely run a vanilla version of Android OS, still giving other manufactures room to compete), but in all honesty I wouldn’t be surprised to see manufacturers take a greater interest in other mobile operating systems such as Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7.