Vendors stick with Android in face of merger

Dylan Bushell-Embling
02 Sep 2011

At least three Android device makers are unconcerned about Google's planned acquisition of Motorola Mobility, and plan to continue using the platform regardless.

While much has been said regarding the potential impact of Google's $12.5 billion deal on the Android ecosystem, representatives from Sony Ericsson, HTC and Acer told Reutersthey do not intend to change any product plans because of the deal.

The vendors indicated that they believe the acquisition is important to allow Google to acquire the patents needed to protect Android.

Motorola's share of the Android device market is only around 15%, a Sony Ericsson executive told the wire service, so it would not make sense for Google to jeopardise the other 85%.

The success of the Android platform is under threat, with device makers including Samsung fending off patent lawsuits and Microsoftpressuring smaller vendors into licensing deals.

But comments from Google chairman Eric Schmidt indicate that Google hardly intends to ignore Motorola Mobility's product range.

Bloombergquotes Schmidt as saying that Motorola has “some amazing products,” and that the acquisition was about devices as well as patents.

Schmidt did not specify which category or categories of products he was referring to. It has been suggested that Google could use Motorola's set-top-box capabilities to bolster its unsuccessful Google TV product.

Opinion is divided as to whether the US Justice Department's opposition to the AT&T/T-Mobile merger indicates that Google could face similar resistance to its Motorola purchase. But antitrust challenges on vertical mergers - between two companies in adjacent businesses - are rare.

Currently 39 handset makers - including Motorola Mobility - develop Android devices.

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