Google Partners: Motorola Acquisition A Gateway To Mobility

Google's massive $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility excited Google's growing channel Monday, with solution providers and Google resellers hopeful that the purchase will open more doors to the mobile world and eventually give them the ability to sell more devices.

With the Motorola Mobility buy, Google adds the important mobile hardware component -- smartphones and tablets -- to the success it's found with Google Android, the open source mobile operating system the search giant launched in 2007. Google was quick to quell concerns from other Android partners and licensees, and said that Google Android will remain open despite Google buying Motorola Mobility.

And while many Google partners said the Motorola Mobility pickup likely won't have an immediate impact on their businesses, it could soon pave the way for Google's cloud providers and partners to beed up their presence in the mobile market.

Tony Safoian, CEO of North Hollywood solution provider SADA Systems, said Google's channel could be a big winner once the merger goes through. The buyout is expected to close in late 2011 or early 2012.

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"In this space, the carriers still exude tremendous control -- however, I would love to see the day when partners like SADA will have the ability to sell mobile devices into organizations making the switch to Google," he said.

Motorola's mobile arm struggled in recent years until Motorola split into two divisions -- Motorola Mobility and Motorola Solutions -- and its mobility business pledged its allegiance to Google Android. Acquiring one of the largest Android partners and licensees gives Google the ability to attack on both the mobile hardware and software fronts to create a dominant mobile strategy.

"Motorola is a natural fit as they were a very early Android platform supporter, and of course [Motorola Mobility] was also one of the early reference customers for Google Apps," Safoian added.

Google scooping up Motorola Mobility also could foster a stronger marriage between Google's cloud and mobile plays with a tighter cohesion between Google Apps and Google Android at the device level.

"We have now the ability to hopefully see a more unified platform," said Thomas Paquet, a senior consultant with G-Apps Masters, a Las Vegas-based Google reseller. Paquet said tighter integration between Google Apps and Google Android would create a stronger mobile experience.

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And while Paquet said Google's Motorola Mobility acquisition won't initially launch G-Apps Masters into the mobile device game with tablets and smartphones, that could easily change as the market evolves. Paquet said Google Apps resellers are starting with Google Chromebooks and with Motorola in the picture the move to smartphones and tablets might not be far behind.

"As the maturity develops in the next two to three years we'll be in a different position with mobile," he said.

Google partners said that Google's Motorola merger also gives Google a competitive edge in the mobility space, which is currently dominated by Apple.

"With both Apple directly controlling manufacturing and Microsoft having exclusive influence on Nokia hardware I'm sure Google felt that to ensure continued success of Android for next generation mobile devices they had to own more of the value chain," SADA's Safoian said.

With the acquisition, Google also gains more weapons in the mobile patent war, a battleground where Google is currently under fire from Apple, Microsoft and Oracle as the vendors seek to gain a competitive advantage. On the conference call announcing the acquisition, Motorola Mobility CEO Sanjay Jha said Motorola Mobility had more than 17,000 patents and more than 7,500 pending patents.

"I'm glad Google is getting aggressive about defending 'bogus patent claims' from Apple, Microsoft and Oracle," said Michael Cohn, marketing vice president for Atlanta-based Google cloud provider Cloud Sherpas. "Android certainly has potential to be the de facto standard mobile operating system, and this acquisition will help Google advance that mission. Google partners like Cloud Sherpas that are customer focused and committed to the concept of open platforms will benefit by default."

Paquet added that Google not having to jump through patent channels by acquiring an established player will help spur rapid innovation and the marriage of software and hardware will be a victory for the entire market, not just the key players.

"The innovation that will come out of the Motorola-Google marriage will have a positive impact across the industry," he said.