Google Declares War
Earlier today, Google (NAS: GOOG) announced a $12.5 billion deal for Motorola Mobility (NYS: MMI) . Get all the details from my Foolish colleague Anders Bylund. I'm writing to offer additional context, beginning with what CEO Larry Page posted about the deal in his Google+ feed.
If you've yet to see it, Page shared four quotes from the Big G's primary Android partners. Here they are as he had them:
- "We welcome today's news, which demonstrates Google's deep commitment to defending Android, its partners, and the ecosystem." [Emphasis added.]
-- J.K. Shin, president, Samsung, Mobile Communications Division
- "I welcome Google's commitment to defending Android and its partners." [Emphasis added.]
-- Bert Nordberg, president and CEO, Sony Ericsson
- "We welcome the news of today's acquisition, which demonstrates that Google is deeply committed to defending Android, its partners, and the entire ecosystem." [Emphasis added.]
-- Peter Chou, CEO, HTC
- "We welcome Google's commitment to defending Android and its partners." [Emphasis added.]
-- Jong-Seok Park, president and CEO, LG Electronics Mobile Communications
Notice how "defending Android" is in every quote? I can tell you two things about this:
- The quotes were orchestrated by Google's PR team.
- Google believes it's in a war with Apple (NAS: AAPL) , Microsoft (NAS: MSFT) , Nokia (NYS: NOK) , and Research In Motion (NAS: RIMM) .
Bye-bye, Fun Google
As a professional scribe, I've come to believe that words always matter. In this announcement and those preceding it, Google has taken to the literary equivalent of drum-beating -- a call to arms, if you will, meant to be answered not just by Google's own internal developers but also a wider community of partners.
Today, this means Google is putting more wood behind fewer arrows (i.e., arming itself) and "defending Android" (i.e., girding for battle). Don't be surprised if we soon see announcements about a new Nexus tablet designed to "attack" the broader opportunity Apple is taking advantage of with the iPad. Or maybe a new and improved Android developer program designed to "rally the troops" in the "battle" to create a smartphone "empire." This is warmongering, Silicon Valley style. And it means the end of Fun Google -- the Google that would try anything just for the sake of seeing if it could work. The company that thought about creating its own think tank, purely because it could. The company that boldly declared in the founders' 2004 letter to prospective shareholders that it would "fund projects that have a 10% chance of earning a billion dollars over the long term."
That company is gone, replaced by one with a singular strategic vision -- one that's becoming focused, vertically integrated, and, with Motorola Mobility, well-armed for the global fight to dominate the market for smart mobile devices.
Meet Warrior Google
Anyone else love the irony of seeing Page -- a man who not long ago needed "adult supervision" supplied by now-Chairman Eric Schmidt -- leading the war effort? Apparently, the old CEO was too soft for battle, not ready for the sort of hand-to-hand combat that Apple and Microsoft have engaged in for decades. Page apparently wants Google, in a massive cultural shift, to adopt this same sort of tenacity. And he's willing to pay billions to create a War Machine capable of taking the fight to his foes.
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At the time this article was published Fool contributorTim Beyersis a member of theMotley Fool Rule Breakersstock-picking team. He owned shares of Apple and Google at the time of publication. Check out Tim'sportfolio holdingsandFoolish writings, or connect with him onGoogle+or Twitter, where he goes by@milehighfool. You can also get his insightsdelivered directly to your RSS reader.The Motley Fool owns shares of Google, Microsoft, Research In Motion, and Apple.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of Microsoft, Google, and Apple and creating bull call spread positions in Microsoft and Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy.
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