Official: Google sells Motorola to Lenovo for $2.91 billion

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.

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76 Comments

1. datphoneguy

Posts: 155; Member since: Sep 15, 2013

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

7. nokia12

Posts: 610; Member since: Nov 19, 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 ..

18. Johnnokia

Posts: 1158; Member since: May 27, 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.

22. akki20892

Posts: 3902; Member since: Feb 04, 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.

24. Johnnokia

Posts: 1158; Member since: May 27, 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

26. nokia12

Posts: 610; Member since: Nov 19, 2013

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

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.

47. nsxviper

Posts: 3; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

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

53. nokia12

Posts: 610; Member since: Nov 19, 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

59. livyatan

Posts: 867; Member since: Jun 19, 2013

That actually made sense!

36. Glim12808

Posts: 394; Member since: Oct 26, 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.

2. promise7

Posts: 894; Member since: Jul 03, 2013

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

3. Johnnokia

Posts: 1158; Member since: May 27, 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.

4. Chris_Bakke

Posts: 246; Member since: Jan 23, 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.

5. mobi_user

Posts: 152; Member since: Jun 18, 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 ....

6. Commentator

Posts: 3722; Member since: Aug 16, 2011

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

10. nokia12

Posts: 610; Member since: Nov 19, 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 ..

34. Martin_Cooper

Posts: 1774; Member since: Jul 30, 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.

37. Glim12808

Posts: 394; Member since: Oct 26, 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.

45. Commentator

Posts: 3722; Member since: Aug 16, 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.

8. frustyak

Posts: 248; Member since: Mar 08, 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.

9. MobileNico

Posts: 94; Member since: Aug 26, 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.

11. ohiojosh78

Posts: 32; Member since: Oct 17, 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.

19. _Bone_

Posts: 2155; Member since: Oct 29, 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.

38. Glim12808

Posts: 394; Member since: Oct 26, 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.

12. PBXtech

Posts: 1032; Member since: Oct 21, 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.

13. kindlefireowner

Posts: 504; Member since: Dec 05, 2011

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

14. metoyou

Posts: 279; Member since: Oct 19, 2011

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

15. InspectorGadget80 unregistered

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

16. androiphone20

Posts: 1654; Member since: Jul 10, 2013

Motorola has bad blood, problem solved!

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