Analysts comment on Android implications of Motorola deal

Lots of voices are sharing opinions about the Google-Motorola deal and its impact on the future development of Android, particulalry for rival handset manufacturers like LG or HTC.

Take this latest comment from analysts IDC, which sees the Windows Phone OS as a beneficiary, with the likes of Sony Ericsson being keen to minimise the ‘risk of dependency’ on Android…

Francisco Jeronimo, Research Manager European Mobile Devices at IDC writes:

However, this acquisition also indirectly benefits other market players, namely Microsoft and Nokia. The deal will make most Android players realise how dependent they are on Google and how quickly Google’s plans can change their businesses. Samsung, HTC, and Sony Ericsson may now look at other platforms as a way to diversify the risk of being so dependent on one platform. Increasing their Windows Phones portfolio may now be a need in the long term. These companies don’t want to see Google as their main partner and main competitor at the same time.

Ultimately, we don’t believe this acquisition is a first step for Google to close Android or to make it exclusive to Motorola. Google needs players such as Samsung, HTC, Sony Ericsson and others to continue growing Android’s installed base. The platform was developed to leverage Google’s revenues through services but not to become its main source of revenue through licenses. Nevertheless Google’s future plans for Android will have Motorola business in mind, which will benefit the company and allow it to differentiate from other Android competitors.

In contrast, IHS (formerly iSuppli) is more positive about the implications of the deal for Google and Android.

For example, they emphasise the Motorola Mobility acquisition putting Google in a stronger position in any potential patent dispute with Apple.

“From an intellectual property (IP) standpoint, the acquisition bolsters Google’s negotiating position with Apple, in the event that Apple goes after Android-based products the same way it did with Samsung in Europe,” said Francis Sideco, principal analyst, wireless communications, for IHS. “If nothing else, Google will be able to assert Motorola’s IP for the 3GPP and 3GPP2 cellphone specifications, which are used in both the iPhone and iPad.”

Not forgetting the product development capabilities of Motorola –

“Motorola has been closely following Google Android’s operating system release schedule,” said Tina Teng, senior analyst, wireless communications, for IHS. “Whenever Google releases a new version of Android, Motorola almost immediately has a device ready with the latest revision of the software, reflecting the company’s prodigious product development capabilities.”

However, the Windows Phone OS is again marked as a beneficiary.

“Although Google has said Motorola will continue to operate as a separate company, this development has to raise questions among the other Android licensees as to the level of support they will get from Google in the future. Even before this announcement, Motorola already had gotten preferential treatment, receiving first access to Honeycomb on the tablet side. While it’s unlikely that the other licensees will abandon Android, they could shift their priorities and focus more R&D toward Windows Phone from Microsoft.”

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