Google has sold struggling US mobile phone company Motorola Mobility to Chinese computer maker Lenovo for $2.91bn (£1.8bn), in a surprise move.
Google had paid $12.5bn for the company less than two years ago.
Lenovo plans to build up its smartphone unit through the Motorola purchase, which may help offset its slowing personal computer business.
Well this is surprising not in the sense that, Google is selling Motorla, in a sense that Google sold off a company after acquisition, their modus operandi after acquisition is either to integrate it into their own products or just kill it. Google is surely sending mixed signals here given they recently acquired NEST. It seemed like they wanted to get into the consumer devices space more aggressively with the acquisition of NEST and now this sale of Motorola. Not sure where they are headed but they sure are unpredictable.
Google’s corporate leadership understands that increased privacy regulations could torpedo its entire business model and the company takes quite a lot of space on its SEC filing disclosing the dangers to its investors:
Privacy concerns relating to elements of our technology could damage our reputation and deter current and potential users from using our products and services…
We also face risks from legislation that could be passed in the future. For example, there is a risk that state legislatures will attempt to regulate the automated scanning of email messages in ways that interfere with our Gmail free advertising-supported web mail service. Any such legislation could make it more difficult for us to operate or could prohibit the aspects of our Gmail service that uses computers to match advertisements to the content of a user’s email message when email messages are viewed using the service. This could prevent us from implementing the Gmail service in any affected states and impair our ability to compete in the email services market…
That is something to ponder about.
I have switched to Fastmail and you should too :). Here is a very brief blogpost on why I moved.