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Opinion: Android will eat itself: Why Google-Motorola deal is great news for Nokia

Like Saturn devouring his son

Opinion: Android will eat itself: Why Google-Motorola deal is great news for Nokia
So Anssi Vanjoki was right.

Infamous for his ongoing statement that using Android was equivalent to pissing in your pants to keep warm (a famous Finnish phase apparently), Google's decision to buy Motorola Mobility has demonstrated the onetime Nokia smartphone boss's reading of the OS landscape was much sharper than Nokia's ability to keep innovating.

Of course, the speed at which the warmth will be turning to a unpleasant wetness (metaphorical) in the minds of HTC, Samsung, Sony Ericsson et al executives remains to be seen.

Samsung has enormous brand value and bada, while HTC has demonstrated it can balance the volume of releases and features. Sony Ericsson is more vulnerable, but to some degree, all remain hostages in terms of how independently Motorola will be run, and how open Android will remain.

What you're good at

The good news is Google has no experience of running a hardware company, and is more than busy enough with other things and so is unlikely to be too meddlesome. Equally, Android is an open source platform, with all the levels of co-operation from various companies and individuals that entails. Google ain't its daddy.

Boring as it sounds, the deal might just be as vanilla as Google CEO Larry Page suggests.

Google spends $12.5 billion of its $40-odd billion pile for a potentially profitable company that has $3 billion cash of its own: technically then the deal only costs $9.5 billion.

There will be synergies in terms of accelerating innovation with hardware ranging from smartphone to tablets, to smartTVs and other home electronics, plus Google gets its hands on a bunch of patents that will no doubt prove useful in the upcoming bunfight between it, Apple, Microsoft, Oracle etc.

What's the deal?

Still, the question remains, "Does a company like Google spend $9.5 billion just to do a standard vanilla deal?"

The obvious answer is to say no and now place Google-Motorola head-to-head again Apple in the portable device market, perhaps with Nokia-Microsoft making up a 2.5 horse race.

That's to confuse what Android is all about however. Android will never be a coherent platform like iOS, and not even Google-Motorola will be able to offer that. Android's real strength is its sheer volume, and the advertising-based, free-to-play DNA that is stamped throughout it.

Clearly then, Google-Motorola isn't - can't be -a play against Apple; that company has an ecosystem that for those rich and happy within its embrace - iTunes, iPhone, iPad, iPod, Macbook, Apple TV, cult of Jobs - cannot be replaced.

There's certainly scope for Google-Motorola to get serious about tablets. For example, a range of signature Nexus tablets (as with Google singular smartphone) would focus consumer attention.

Still, the lunch the combined outfit will be munching on - if the deal proves to in any way successful - will be that of other Android smartphone OEMs.

In this way, the person most pleased by the deal will be Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, decision to make a strategic play with Microsoft, not Android, is totally justified.

The CEOs of Samsung, HTC, Sony Ericsson et al will be feeling the heat however.
Contributing Editor

A Pocket Gamer co-founder, Jon is Contributing Editor at PG.biz which means he acts like a slightly confused uncle who's forgotten where he's left his glasses. As well as letters and cameras, he likes imaginary numbers and legumes.

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