x PhoneArena is hiring! Reviewer in the USA
  • Hidden picShow menu
  • Home
  • News
  • Official: Google sells Motorola to Lenovo for $2.91 billion

Official: Google sells Motorola to Lenovo for $2.91 billion

Posted: , by Michael H.

Tags :

Official: Google sells Motorola to Lenovo for $2.91 billion
Ladies and gents, it's official. In a move that is about to sever one of the few remaining strong US ties to the smartphone world, Google has agreed to sell off the recently acquired Motorola Mobility to Lenovo. The sum to be paid, $2.91 billion, includes $660 million cash, $750 million of ordinary Lenovo shares, and a three-year promissory note worth $1.5 billion. 

In a blog post, Larry Page has explained why Google has decided to make this deal, saying that essentially Google couldn't be "all-in" when it came to making handsets, and that is what is needed to be successful. Page says that Lenovo's experience will better serve Motorola, and it will allow Google to focus its efforts specifically on Android. 

Possibly the best news in the announcement by Page is this sentence: "Lenovo intends to keep Motorola’s distinct brand identity." The specifics of the deal aren't clear outside of the $2.91 billion figure, but Page does say that "Google will retain the vast majority of Motorola’s patents, which we will continue to use to defend the entire Android ecosystem." This means that Lenovo will not be getting its hand on the 24,000 patents that are considered the main reason for Google's acquisition of the US manufacturer in the first place, and we're also told that the Advanced Technology and Projects division of Motorola (which is behind Project Ara) will stay in the hands of Google.

Motorola being part of Google has been both incredibly interesting and somewhat disappointing. The products and ideas of Motorola have been fantastic from the Moto X, the Moto G, the Moto Maker customization suite, and the promise of Project Ara; but, consumer response has been low and devices haven't sold that well. Even at that time, the assumption was that Google's aim was Motorola's patent portfolio, and Google was never expected to have much interest in the devices division of the company. Google has since kept Motorola separate from the main Google business ever since acquiring it, although it is being run by ex-Googler Dennis Woodside. 

Lenovo is one of the largest handset manufacturers in China, but it has struggled to gain market share in the U.S., and this deal would certainly change that. Lenovo has been promising to make its push into the U.S. market by 2015. It was rumored to have been one of the companies bidding for BlackBerry last year, but that move was blocked by the Canadian government. Motorola would make for a much better acquisition, and a major shift in power for Lenovo, as the company is quite experienced with such deals. Back in 2005, Lenovo bought off IBM's ThinkPad laptop division, essentially paving its way to the top -- Lenovo is now the world's biggest PC maker. Should the Chinese company manage to leverage Motorola's brand name as well, it wouldn't be at all surprising to indeed see the company launch a serious challenge to incumbents in the US and Europe.

  • Options

posted on 29 Jan 2014, 15:31 6

1. datphoneguy (Posts: 154; Member since: 15 Sep 2013)

Wow, all those awesome Moto phones ....that's it....there's going to be no more!


posted on 29 Jan 2014, 15:50 31

7. nokia12 (Posts: 484; Member since: 19 Nov 2013)

ohh Nokia listen up and buy Motorola quickly.. its the best opportunity for you... 3 billion is dirt cheap... you can easily buy now with Ms money.. release android phones with Nokia brand in India , Europe ,China. and release it with motorola brand in USA .. you will be able to beat Samsung this way ..

posted on 29 Jan 2014, 16:18 8

18. Johnnokia (Posts: 1093; Member since: 27 May 2012)

The best and most logical comment I ever read..

Really true..
Nokia must buy any handset manufacturer and start rolling devices with Android, Meego or re inventing Symbain.

Even Windows Phone.. Why not? they have awesome Lumias.

Just within few months and Nokia re-gain the first place..

Nokia watch Motorola or as you already watching Alcatel.

You have till 2016 to re arrange everything and start again.

Still Nokia has billions of fans everywhere.

posted on 29 Jan 2014, 16:46 4

22. akki20892 (Posts: 3901; Member since: 04 Feb 2013)

Absolutely true buddy. U r back johnnokia after long time good to see you. They should buy Motorola and star making Nokia Android. and bring back mixer of symbian and meego with new look.

posted on 29 Jan 2014, 16:53 3

24. Johnnokia (Posts: 1093; Member since: 27 May 2012)

Thank you akki20892,
nice to talk to you again.
Unfortunately, it is official right now that Lenovo bought Motorola.

I'm really sad for that, and I wanted to buy Moto X soon.
Not anymore

posted on 29 Jan 2014, 17:03 3

26. nokia12 (Posts: 484; Member since: 19 Nov 2013)

thanks for the complement but it's already official :(
hoping nokia would return with android in 2016

posted on 29 Jan 2014, 18:36 2

32. Dastrix (unregistered)

Totally agree with you guys. That would be a really good move. I wonder what Lenovo would do with Motorola anyway. It's not like they have a huge global presence. Nokia, on the other hand... Could do wonders with Motorola.

posted on 29 Jan 2014, 20:19 1

47. nsxviper (Posts: 3; Member since: 29 Mar 2012)

Nokia can't buy Motorola because Microsoft bought out Nokia. You want Microsoft to buy Motorola and turn it into Windows Phone?

posted on 29 Jan 2014, 22:53 3

53. nokia12 (Posts: 484; Member since: 19 Nov 2013)

no Microsoft did not buy Nokia.. they bought their devices unit only..
Here maps,NSN,patents are owned by Nokia .. Nokia is an independent company.. Microsoft cannot release smartphones with "nokia" name on it.. NokiA cannot produce smartphones until 2016.. but they can buy other company and use it so if they buy Motorola they can keep producing android phones with Motorola branding , and later in 2016 change it to Nokia and release it in india,Europe,China while retaining Motorola branding for USA,Canada

posted on 30 Jan 2014, 03:57 1

59. livyatan (Posts: 867; Member since: 19 Jun 2013)

That actually made sense!

posted on 29 Jan 2014, 19:23 2

36. Glim12808 (Posts: 394; Member since: 26 Oct 2011)

I don't think the name "Moto" will disappear. What will probably disappear will be Motorola. I believe Lenovo will continue to use "Moto" for one of their Android lines. In the same manner that they continue to use IBM's "ThinkPad" in one of their computer lines, they'll do the same with "Moto" and probably use that name for their entry level Android phones.

posted on 29 Jan 2014, 15:31 1

2. promise7 (Posts: 877; Member since: 03 Jul 2013)

Lol at the red font and yellow background for this "story."

posted on 29 Jan 2014, 15:37 1

3. Johnnokia (Posts: 1093; Member since: 27 May 2012)

If Google sold Nokia's handset division instead of Microsoft, the second big bang may have been occurred.

Imagine Google Nexus with PureView and other Nokia's great technologies.

We really lost the best phone manufacturer... The legend Nokia.

posted on 29 Jan 2014, 15:41 1

4. Chris_Bakke (Posts: 235; Member since: 23 Jan 2013)

That's quite an incredible turn around. What does that mean for the current line of phones? Moto X & G, and the Droid lines.

posted on 29 Jan 2014, 15:44 2

5. mobi_user (Posts: 151; Member since: 18 Jun 2013)

Hey, Google bought something for 12.5 B and now selling it away for 3 B only.
Is this charity going on or some kind of ....

posted on 29 Jan 2014, 15:45 2

6. Commentator (Posts: 3684; Member since: 16 Aug 2011)

Google will probably be keeping the majority of their patents, which is mainly why they originally bought them anyway.

posted on 29 Jan 2014, 15:54 2

10. nokia12 (Posts: 484; Member since: 19 Nov 2013)

google bought the whole company that includes patents as well which are way more valuable than device units.. google is selling only devices devision not patents .. so 3 billion is ok.. same way like Microsoft did not buy nokia .. it only bought its devices division. patent is still owned by nokia ..

posted on 29 Jan 2014, 19:03 2

34. Martin_Cooper (Posts: 1415; Member since: 30 Jul 2013)

They sold one part of motorola some time ago for almost 3 billions, now for 3 billions the phone division, they keep all the patents and thats not a bad deal, plus they keep the advanced division of motorola which is responsible for that phone thats out of bricks that you can update different parts of the phone.

posted on 29 Jan 2014, 19:29

37. Glim12808 (Posts: 394; Member since: 26 Oct 2011)

They're NOT keeping all the patents! There were 17,000 patents that went their way with the purchase of Motorola but only 7,000 of those will remain because 10,000 will be transferred to Lenovo if this deal gets approved.

posted on 29 Jan 2014, 19:57 1

45. Commentator (Posts: 3684; Member since: 16 Aug 2011)

Most news outlets are reporting that Google stated they were keeping the "vast majority" of patents. Also remember that some patents are worth much more than others, so even if they are selling 10,000, they might not be worth nearly as much as the ones they're keeping.

posted on 29 Jan 2014, 15:52 3

8. frustyak (Posts: 209; Member since: 08 Mar 2010)

I was considering replacing my iPhone 5S for the Moto X, but not anymore.
Even if the Moto X itself doesn't sell that well, I thought it represented the future of where smartphone usability was heading. Active display; always-listening low-power consumption architecture; Motorola Assist that *knew* when you were driving without any input from the user; all of these in one handset demonstrated some magnificent out-of-the-box thinking and innovation.
Without Google's backing, all of that is uncertain at best.

posted on 29 Jan 2014, 15:54 2

9. MobileNico (Posts: 67; Member since: 26 Aug 2012)

This is extremely disappointing news. Hopefully neither this nor the story about the Nexus line being nixed is true. Who will I buy my next phone from!?! I may have to settle for a Play Edition device. Sadness.

posted on 29 Jan 2014, 15:56 2

11. ohiojosh78 (Posts: 32; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)

Many reasons this is bad. A few off the top of my head.

1. Google has been driving the prices of handsets down with Motorola phones ($350 Moto X and $99 Moto G) and eventually the pressure would have been enough to start forcing others to follow suit.

2. We'd be losing out on Moto's "close to stock" phones.

3. Motorola just hit rock bottom and is now in the middle of their recovery to greatness with Google at the helm.

posted on 29 Jan 2014, 16:27 3

19. _Bone_ (Posts: 2154; Member since: 29 Oct 2012)

1) Google has been driving prices down with the Nexus devices that sold 10 times more than the X and G, still, prices are still high for the regular companies

2) depends on the Lenovo deal, they may keep the Motorola brand and strategy altogether or even adopt it, Lenovo has smart ppl.

3) this is certainly true, but I guess Lenovo made the offer right now, and right now there was pressure on Google from Windows Phone and Samsung (Tizen). It never was good to be friends with Sammy yet be competitor via Motorola, which is why Samsung started to develop it's own OS, "we can do that too".

So what do they do? Sign a deal, Google sells Motorola, Samsung stalls Tizen and everybody's happy. It's worth much more than the fate of Motorola, with every 2nd smartphone being Samsung, Google cannot allow to lose it's services and income to a new platform. What remains in Google's possession is the essence of their Motorola purchase: the patents.

posted on 29 Jan 2014, 19:36 1

38. Glim12808 (Posts: 394; Member since: 26 Oct 2011)

Of the 17,000 Motorola patents, 10,000 will be passed on to Lenovo if the deal goes through so only 7,000 patents will remain with Google.

Motorola lost to Microsoft in three patent cases so those patents were over-priced and over-hyped to begin with.

posted on 29 Jan 2014, 15:58 2

12. PBXtech (Posts: 1032; Member since: 21 Oct 2013)

Only reason Motorola phones aren't selling better is the same as HTC, poor marketing. Motorola's offerings have been much, much improved, need the marketing to remind people of that.

posted on 29 Jan 2014, 16:01 2

13. kindlefireowner (Posts: 503; Member since: 05 Dec 2011)

Thanks Google. There goes my fast updates that I was planning on for my Moto G for the next 18 months.

posted on 29 Jan 2014, 16:10 1

14. metoyou (Posts: 279; Member since: 19 Oct 2011)

It's official Google sold Motorola mobile division to Lenovo for $2.91billions

posted on 29 Jan 2014, 16:11 1

15. InspectorGadget80 (unregistered)

Are they crazy?! It would be nice if Motorola makes some high end smart phones along with low budget phones.

posted on 29 Jan 2014, 16:14 1

16. androiphone20 (Posts: 1654; Member since: 10 Jul 2013)

Motorola has bad blood, problem solved!

posted on 29 Jan 2014, 16:15 1

17. _Bone_ (Posts: 2154; Member since: 29 Oct 2012)

Well this explains the Samsung-related news and the further delay of Tizen. It appears Google made a strategic move of stopping being an OS provider AND a competitor at the same time, and made I guess a crossover patent and licencing deal with Samsung that is beneficial for both. So Google provides the content, Samsung provides the hardware, and if everything goes well, the Magazin UI may disappear only to reappear on stock Android, so better for everyone.

posted on 29 Jan 2014, 16:36 4

20. E.S.1 (Posts: 297; Member since: 14 Sep 2013)

I was thinking of getting the Nexus 5 or Moto X and was leaning towards Moto.
I guess I'm getting the Nexus now.

posted on 29 Jan 2014, 16:41 2

21. Sniggly (Posts: 7305; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)

Well, all of you iFanboys. It's your lucky day. Today is the day Google finally does something which makes me feel angry and betrayed.

Ultimately this might be a fine move, but many of the unique things Motorola did were only possible because money was no object to Google. Now that Motorola's going to yet another soulless Chinese OEM, I'm afraid that every good piece of progress Motorola has made will disappear.

posted on 29 Jan 2014, 16:51 6

23. _Bone_ (Posts: 2154; Member since: 29 Oct 2012)

The move looks smarter by the minute. Look, Google can't fish for companies to do Android phones and release competing Android phones at the same time, they knew pretty early that the HW division has to go (they bought Moto with the patents).

Whom they are selling to is the big question here. Because if they make a partnership with Lenovo - a company strong on the desktop and laptop market - suddenly Google has a window open to personal computers and workstations.

It's no coincidence that besides Sammy delaying Tizen, there are also rumors of them quitting Windows for Chome OS, so if Google, Samsung and Lenovo team up to bring desktop & laptop computer to the next level, then this all of the sudden is something MONUMENTAL, and certainly not a great day for the iSheeep.

posted on 29 Jan 2014, 19:12 1

35. alrightihatepickingusernames (Posts: 474; Member since: 29 Dec 2013)

I was thinking the same thing, the timing is just way too close to the recent Samsung deal. Lenovo doesn't have a huge presence in the US, so Samsung starts working with Google for Android itself while removing some competition in the US market.

I'll miss Motorola though, I liked their new devices.

posted on 29 Jan 2014, 19:40 2

39. Glim12808 (Posts: 394; Member since: 26 Oct 2011)

Soulless or not, IBM's "ThinkPad" brand is doing OK under Lenovo's ownership so I think "Moto" will be fine and continue to be Lenovo's entry level Android phones. Motorola as a company though will probably cease to exist.

posted on 29 Jan 2014, 23:40

55. ardent1 (Posts: 2000; Member since: 16 Apr 2011)

Sniggly, the writing was in the wall for a long time. Moto was a money-losing sinkhole for Google.

Also Moto was being marginalized. There's no reason for Moto or Blackberry to exist. Whatever Moto created, it could be copied by low cost OEMs.

In summary, this news is really not news but something that we knew was going to happen. Moto's cost structure was too high to compete. It didn't introduce ground breaking products.

posted on 30 Jan 2014, 06:57 1

62. Sniggly (Posts: 7305; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)

"It didn't introduce ground breaking products."

I won't even dignify such a goddamned stupid statement with a rebuttal.

posted on 30 Jan 2014, 00:57

57. roscuthiii (Posts: 2217; Member since: 18 Jul 2010)

Something I'd like to add to the other responses to ponder is this: Google has pretty much been the only major company to miss the bandwagon that is the Apple legal machine targeting Android device manufactures. Long was it postulated that this was because Google gave away the software (minus the proprietary services software) and made no hardware, thus legally escaping the ire of Apple's cross hairs.
Motorola ownership, though, did make them a device maker which is why they said themselves they couldn't go all-in.
Apple was probably finally dotting the i's and crossing the t's on a length legal filling so Google decided to play hot potato.

Unless, it's been covered elsewhere as to why Apple never targeted Google after they purchased Motorola. Other than the patent M.A.D.

posted on 29 Jan 2014, 16:59 3

25. jphillips63 (Posts: 221; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)

That's the death of quality from Motorola the Asian market builds cheap crap regardless and damn moto had best radios in the market. That to will be gone. Samsungs out in my area there radios are junk I can't even get 3G with them sony isn't on Verizon so that's out. Damn who's gonna step up and build a phone as good as moto has?

posted on 29 Jan 2014, 21:53

50. corporateJP (Posts: 2431; Member since: 28 Nov 2009)


posted on 31 Jan 2014, 04:37

67. IHatePhones (Posts: 99; Member since: 12 Aug 2009)

Well I'm not too concerned about the build quality as most smartphones are made in China anyways. The X was assembled in the US but I guess that's over now.

What I AM concerned about is a company that has ZERO mobile phone experience taking Moto. Look what HP did for Palm, made it a slower more painful death huh?

As someone mentioned above, I wonder if Lenny is going to be concerned with timely Android OS updates, and if they are going to add Chinese spy software in their new phones just like it was suspected in the Huawei devices..

posted on 29 Jan 2014, 17:22 2

27. domfonusr (Posts: 384; Member since: 17 Jan 2014)

This doesn't sound good at all. If Google acquired all of those patents, and is now going to re-sell the bulk of them, and get very little for them, then why is this happening in the first place? It's like Google bought Motorola only to have Moto go *POOF*, and disappear.

posted on 29 Jan 2014, 17:27

28. OldNorseBruin (Posts: 231; Member since: 12 Mar 2013)

GOOGLE completely dropped the ball with MOTOROLA! As the makers of ANDROID OS coupled with such a high quality, historical company as MOTOROLA, they should have been producing the ABSOLUTELY BEST cell phones out there...BUT, they were afraid of pissing off Samsung; so they held back and proceeded meekly... Well, at least now with LENOVO going head first & full speed ahead with MOTOROLA, I see a very much improved, bright rebirth for MOTOROLA, the creators of the FIRST cell phone.

posted on 30 Jan 2014, 08:13

63. bikingpadres (Posts: 20; Member since: 19 Jan 2012)

I just hope they keep the build quality to what it has been throughout their history. Even when Google, a highly respectable giant, bought them I got a Moto X and compared to my old atrix the sound quality was just lacking the great speakers Motorola had before. And though I want to believe in Lenovo making Motorola great I just don't know.

posted on 29 Jan 2014, 18:27 3

29. papss (unregistered)

Who ever thought that google bought Moto for any reason other than patents was fooling themselves.

posted on 29 Jan 2014, 20:25

48. domfonusr (Posts: 384; Member since: 17 Jan 2014)

Granted, I did think they were buying Moto for their patents back then, but why in the world would they let most of those patents now slip away for so little? In my opinion, Motorola was Google's ticket to a great portfolio of patents that could be used to stave off a patent offensive by Apple. Why are they giving them up? They are not just lowering their defenses, but rather totally abandoning them!

posted on 29 Jan 2014, 21:55

51. corporateJP (Posts: 2431; Member since: 28 Nov 2009)

Truth be told...

posted on 29 Jan 2014, 18:34 2

30. asimshami (Posts: 1; Member since: 29 Jan 2014)

Actually this a very good deal for google, google bought moto for 12.5$ billion. Moto had about 3$ billion in cash and nearly 1$ billion in tax credits. That brings the original amount to 8.5$ billion. Then google sold moto's set-top box business for around 2.4$ billion lowering the price further too 6.1$ billion and now it sells the handset business for 2.9$ billion. So google basically paid 3.2$ billion for some very important patents which is less the what Apple and Microsoft and some other companies paid for Nortel Networks patents. Though still selling the handset business in my opinion still has something to do with the Google and Samsung deals going on.

posted on 29 Jan 2014, 18:36 3

31. aldridhl (Posts: 73; Member since: 12 Feb 2011)

lol hot potato

posted on 29 Jan 2014, 18:50

33. kaikuheadhunterz (Posts: 1157; Member since: 18 Jul 2013)

Am I the only one who is okay with this? I'm no Motorola fan, but I see a bright future for them after this deal

posted on 29 Jan 2014, 19:43

41. Glim12808 (Posts: 394; Member since: 26 Oct 2011)

Depends of what you mean by OK because I personally believe Motorola will disappear as a company but what will remain is the "Moto" brand, which I believe will become Lenovo's entry level Android phones.

posted on 30 Jan 2014, 04:51

60. kaikuheadhunterz (Posts: 1157; Member since: 18 Jul 2013)

They already clarified that they will let Motorola independantly

posted on 29 Jan 2014, 19:43 2

40. Berzerk000 (Posts: 4275; Member since: 26 Jun 2011)

Well... Sh*t.

posted on 29 Jan 2014, 19:44 1

42. BattleBrat (Posts: 1456; Member since: 26 Oct 2011)


posted on 29 Jan 2014, 19:46 1

43. JunitoNH (Posts: 1778; Member since: 15 Feb 2012)

Here's a thought, Google sells Motorola to a soulless Asian company, as mentioned above. Soulless company, in two years fires all the American workers in Texas; and you know is coming, is cheaper in Asia. We all keep buying Asian phones (screw Apple) and our parents keep bagging groceries. Cool!!!

posted on 31 Jan 2014, 04:43

68. IHatePhones (Posts: 99; Member since: 12 Aug 2009)

I was excited about the new facility in Abilene as well, but I thought that was Google's building? Maybe it will be part of the Lenny deal but who knows.

posted on 29 Jan 2014, 19:46 2

44. BattleBrat (Posts: 1456; Member since: 26 Oct 2011)

Who am I going to turn to now? I have this note 3 but the skin is thick and disgusting. My RAZR is still fast and smooth even though it is stuck on jelly bean. I guess I will have to turn to Sony.

posted on 29 Jan 2014, 20:01

46. Berzerk000 (Posts: 4275; Member since: 26 Jun 2011)

Well, Lenovo said they're going to keep Motorola's brand identity, so that might mean they're going to keep the mostly stock interface. If that happens, I'm not worried so much. I'm just worried that without Google standing over them, they'll start slacking with the updates, in which case, I'm going to jump back over to HTC, because they've kept their skin well optimized and have been pushing out updates like crazy.

posted on 29 Jan 2014, 20:25 1

49. nsxviper (Posts: 3; Member since: 29 Mar 2012)

Even if Lenovo makes Motorola cellphones for the Chinese market, it still has to compete with Xiaomi which dominated Samsung and Apple in cellphone sales. Lenovo could make a dent in the U.S market if they focus on unlocked low to midrange phones priced at $100-$400. The Moto X and the Moto G were a good start for Google but unfortunately it wasn't enough for them to keep Motorola.

I even bought 2 Moto G phones for my parents and I'm jealous that it's better than my S2 Galaxy.

I hope Lenovo will continue where Motorola left off. I wonder who's going to support the Android OS for Moto X and G?

Want to comment? Please login or register.

Latest stories