Google Considering Offloading Motorola’s Hardware Department?

According to a Wall Street Journal report, Google could already be eyeing a sale of Motorola’s hardware division. It’s long been thought that Google’s main reason for buying Motorola was for its 17,000 patents and the deal has only been official for a few months. The WSJ says:

There are already reports that Google is sizing up the cable set-top box business for sale. From Asia, rumors have swirled around the handset business, suggesting that Google has already offered it to China’s Huawei at a high price.

Google’s senior Vice President of Mobile, Andy Rubin conveys a different message arguing that Google will build a “firewall” between the two companies and readily admits he isn’t involved in Motorola’s hardware decision prices.

Bernstein analyst Pierre Ferragu suggests Google’s best option is to dump Motorola’s hardware business now that they have their patent portfolio saying:

“Compared to what Google does, the smartphone business has horrible economics,” says Bernstein analyst Pierre Ferragu. “The reason to buy Motorola was to strengthen patents. Now they have that, the logical thing is to sell the rest.”

The current reports indicate Google has already offered Motorola’s hardware division to Chinese manufacturer Huawei at a “high price.” Google denies any such talk exists but one does have to wonder if Google really believes it can be all things to all people. Google is awesome at what it does well, but can it be a hardware company with software margins, a neutral Android dealer that also happens to be building its own Motorola products on the side? Time will tell.


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