Nokia CEO: Google's Motorola Buy Bad For Android - InformationWeek

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8/18/2011
09:07 AM
Eric Zeman
Eric Zeman
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Nokia CEO: Google's Motorola Buy Bad For Android

Android device makers should be wary of how Google's acquisition of Motorola will affect their relationship with Google, says Nokia CEO Stephen Elop.

Google stunned the wireless industry on Monday when it announced its plans to acquire Motorola for $12.5 billion. The move gives Google access to some 17,000 patents, as well as Motorola's handset business. Other Android device makers should be concerned, says Stephen Elop, CEO of Nokia.

"If I happened to be someone who was an Android manufacturer or an operator, or anyone with a stake in that environment, I would be picking up my phone and calling certain executives at Google and say 'I see signs of danger ahead,'" Nokia CEO Stephen Elop said at a seminar Wednesday.

It's hard to disagree with Elop's viewpoint. Despite what are obvious red flags, Google's OEM partners offered nothing but praise publicly for the deal, offering flowery quotes a-plenty in support of the acquisition.

Here's some of what Motorola's competitors had to say about the acquisition:

HTC: "We welcome the news of today's acquisition, which demonstrates that Google is deeply committed to defending Android, its partners, and the entire ecosystem. We are supportive of Google's acquisition of Motorola Mobility as this is a positive development to the Android ecosystem, which we believe is beneficial to HTC's promotion of Android phones. The partnership between HTC and Google remains strong and will not be affected by this acquisition."

Samsung: "Samsung welcomes Google's acquisition of Motorola Mobility, which we believe will provide intellectual property protection for the Android ecosystem. We do not expect this to have any impact on our mobile business."

What's interesting is that on Wednesday reports surfaced that Samsung's executives freaked out and called an emergency meeting to discuss the situation. The chairman of Samsung Electronics, Lee Kun-hee, met with other high-level executives, warning that Samsung is trailing its competitors with respect to dedicated smartphone operating systems.

Lee, as quoted by Yonhap News, said that Samsung "must strengthen the competitiveness of its information technology, secure more human resources and also more actively seek mergers and acquisitions. We must pay attention to the fact that IT power is moving away from hardware companies such as Samsung to software companies."

In other words, maybe this news isn't so welcome, after all. Samsung does sell its own smartphone operating system, called Bada. This OS, however, is primarily available on handsets only in Samsung's home market of Korea.

Circling back to Nokia, Elop sees the deal as proof that its partnership with Microsoft was warranted. "This further reinforces our belief that opportunities for the growth of Nokia's smartphone business will be greatest with Windows Phone. This could prove to be a massive catalyst for the Windows Phone ecosystem," said a Nokia statement.

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