Google-Motorola Mobility Deal Heads for Closure

By | May 27, 2012

Following approval by China, Google's acquisition of Motorola Mobility is on the fast track toward becoming a done deal. Besides underlining the scale of Google's commitment to Android and the mobile marketplace, the Google-Motorola deal may help to stabilize the entire Android ecosystem.

For IT professionals at midsize business, this could be good news. Like it or not, the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) mobile era is coming to IT. And BYOD is bringing with it a host of management and security challenges. While Apple's iOS ecosystem promises some measure of protection, it comes at the price of accepting Apple's intrusive dominance. For many midsize firms, a more stable Android environment could provide a more attractive and flexible alternative.

Aiming For Wednesday

Approval from China was the last hurdle in the path of the Google-Motorola Mobility deal, by which Google will acquire a leading manufacturer of Android devices.

As Don Reisinger reports at CNET, by the standards of major tech industry mergers, the acquisition moved through the regulatory process fairly quickly. Google agree to conditions such as China's insistence that Android remain free and open-source for at least the next five years. In all likelihood, this was already Google's intention and expectations.

Motorola's rivals are unlikely to be entirely assuaged by Google's repeated assurances that it will be evenhanded in its treatment of Android hardware manufacturers.

"Protect the Android Ecosystem"

According to Google chief legal officer David Drummond, the Motorola Mobility deal will place Google in a "very good position to protect the Android ecosystem for all of our partners." As Mandy Rice-Davies once noted of a very British midcentury scandal, he would say that, wouldn't he?

But from the perspective of IT professionals at midsize firms, Drummond has a valid point. The big problem with Android, from an IT security perspective, has been that there really is no Android standard. Google promulgated its Android vision, but every hardware vendor makes its own tweaks.

By controlling a major Android hardware provider, Google will now be able to fully implement its own perception of how Android ought to function. Other hardware vendors will be free to follow this pattern--or not. But the Google version of Android will surely generate a strong gravitational field, implicitly defining a standard Android implementation.

This is no doubt just what other manufacturers fear. But for IT, such a standard is highly desirable. Application developers can use it as a reference point, providing new stability and security for BYOD Android devices.

This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.

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