This has always bothered me. Google buys a huge hardware company called Motorola, and people expect new Google phones to appear within a few weeks or months. Of course, anybody with more than two brain cells to rub together realises buying and integrating such a huge company isn’t something you just do in a few weeks or months. Luckily, The Verge reports Google has just stated the obvious.
There’s several reasons why this process takes so long, and why the products we’ve seen coming from the new Google-owned Motorola are essentially the same as they’ve always been – including non-vanilla Android. First, a hardware company like Motorola has a product pipeline that you can’t just kill. Motorola’s sales may not have been doing well, but declining sales is still better than no sales at all. Especially in the mobile industry, a product has to comply with boatloads of standards, laws, and regulations – and that requires lots of testing by both the manufacturer itself, as well as agencies and institutions all over the world. And remember – every country has its own rules.
This means that even if Google started designing Motorola phones right away after acquiring Motorola, these phones would simply not be ready now. So, instead, we’re looking at the same old Motorola stuff the public had already grown tired of – including Motoblur.
However, the chances that Google started designing phones right away are slim. Motorola is a large company, and so is Google – the process of integrating the two isn’t easy. I obviously have zero experience with something like that, but common sense can go a long way here. Common sense also states that it’s probably a good idea to finish this integration process first, before starting to work on completely new products.
During the Google earnings call, CFO Patrick Pichette stated just that:
Look, we’re really pleased with Motorola’s progress in its first 150 days. As indicated in our public filings, our team has made a lot of operational changes, we harmonized and narrowed the product portfolio, [undertook] streamlining of software operations, and we scaled back the markets in which we operate. But that said, we’re just at the beginning of the Motorola-Google story, and we should expect, as I mentioned before, results from this segment to be quite variable for quite a while yet.
Remember that we inherited an entire product pipeline where hardware business cycles are typically 12 to 18 months.
I’m actually incredibly curious to see where Google will take Motorola. If my Nexus 7 – built by Asus, but Google has its hand in it – is anything to go by as to what to expect from Google’s own hardware division, we’ll be in for some great stuff. I don’t want Samsung to remain as domineering as it is now, so hopefully, Google’s Motorola can do something about that.