Google announced Monday morning that it will acquire Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion.
Motorola is one of 39 manufacturers of handsets that use Google’s Android operating system.
Buying a hardware company is an unusual move for Google. The acquisition, Google said in a statement, “will enable Google to supercharge the Android ecosystem.”
Google CEO Larry Page expanded on what that might mean in a blog post. In addition to citing Motorola’s home devices and video solutions business, Page references recent patent wars that Google believes to be anti-competitive.
“The U.S. Department of Justice had to intervene in the results of one recent patent auction to ‘protect competition and innovation in the open source software community’ and it is currently looking into the results of the Nortel auction,” Page writes. “Our acquisition of Motorola will increase competition by strengthening Google’s patent portfolio, which will enable us to better protect Android from anti-competitive threats from Microsoft, Apple and other companies.”
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Android will continue to be an open platform, and Motorola will continue to be run as a separate business.