Originally published: May 22, 2012
Last updated: May 22, 2012 - 11:07pm
Could Microsoft be a winner in the Google-Motorola deal?
Its Windows Phone software may gain traction among phone makers if they start to become wary of Android because Google now owns a competing phone maker.
“Generally, when a partner owns a supplier, it doesn’t work out too well in the end for the other partners,” said Roger Entner, a telecommunications industry analyst and founder of Recon Analytics, a market research firm. Many have wondered whether Motorola would become a kind of test for Google to perfect its recipe for Android and figure out the best way to meld its software ventures with hardware. Last August, when Google first announced its plans to buy Motorola Mobility, which builds smartphones, tablets and set-top boxes, Google stressed that it was primarily interested in the hardware maker’s trophy case of patents to help it fend off rivals like Apple and Microsoft in the legal arena. But Entner isn’t convinced that this is the only plan in Google’s playbook. “Google is handicapping the game in their favor,” he said. “If they aren’t, why did they buy Motorola?” While that tactic may help Google gain on its competitors, it also runs the risk of upsetting other device makers like HTC and Samsung who build some of the most popular smartphones and tablets running Google’s Android software. It could upset those partners enough to prompt them to take a closer look at Windows Phone, Microsoft’s fledgling mobile software platform, which it hopes will compete with Apple and Android. “There’s no doubt that is what Microsoft is hoping for,” said Michael Gartenberg, an analyst with Gartner Research, who closely follows the mobile industry. “If it’s perceived that Motorola gets newer versions of Android before everyone else, and if handset makers feel that they are competing with Google instead of partnering directly with Google, there could be a lot of implications here.”
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