August 15, 2011, 2:36 PM — Tiny, friendless, overmatched mobile-phone software maker Google, desperate to find a hardware maker willing to support its fringe Android smartphone operating system, has stretched the financial resources it was holding in reserve in the form of change amid cushions of couches in the offices of Larry and Sergey to buy another minor force in mobile computing – Motorola, Inc.
Google's announcement of the acquisition of Motorola Mobility said the move was designed to "supercharge the Android ecosystem," which was withering on the vine with a paltry 38.9 percent share of the smartphone market in June according to an IDC report, compared to a market-dominating 18.2 percent for Apple's iOS.
The four-year growth rate of 23.7 percent per year IDC predicts for Android clearly leaves Google in danger of being forgotten by the smartphone market, especially compared to the 17.9 percent per year IDC predicts for iOS.
Indications from tech-industry Tarot-card and Crystal-Ball readers indicate that the risk that Android will be forgotten – at least by prime allies HTC and Samsung – spiked immediately after the announcement that Google would acquire Motorola – one of their prime competitors.
Ironically, some of the danger to Android may have come directly from Motorola Mobility, whose CEO Sanjay Jha was quoted as hinting he might use the 14,000 patents Motorola holds on mobile-phone technology to press other Android vendors for as much as $60 per device in patent fees.
A release from Motorola quoted Jha today as saying "This transaction offers significant value for Motorola Mobility's stockholders and provides compelling new opportunities for our employees, customers and partners around the world."