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

76. COZMAN

Posts: 99; Member since: Nov 28, 2013

I am keeping my MOTO X

75. COZMAN

Posts: 99; Member since: Nov 28, 2013

Dumbest move ever from them. Motorola is a brand for the people. GOOGLE is starting to act stupidly.

73. hatiar1233

Posts: 2; Member since: Feb 08, 2014

pls sell me one of yours! what the f%$# will happen now? lenovo will sell the moto g cheap? or they will make bulls**t chineese phone?

74. Leonis

Posts: 338; Member since: Jan 08, 2014

Did they made bullsh*t laptops? Of course they will try to make it better all over the world. they already can make cheap bad phones. This will push them further

72. Esteban4u

Posts: 76; Member since: Oct 15, 2013

That sucks. I was really hoping Google would have used them to show all other OEMs how it's done and have them make the next Nexus device with top notch specs. It could have been named the Nexus Moto with Android 5 (64-bit support), Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 64-bit processor, 4GB ram, 4K IPS screen at 5 inches with Corning Gorilla glass 4, 12 megapixel back-side illuminated sensor OIS with low-light enhancing main camera / 6 megapixel front-facing camera, Carl Zeiss sapphire camera lens elements, xenon and LED focus assisting flash, 4000 mAh battery, unibody design, front firing stereo speakers, 4 noise cancelling microphones, support for HD voice, support for VoLTE, support for ALL LTE bands, ...and customizable unibody construction material with choice of 8 colors of matte soft-touch plastic or banboo, mahogany, ebony, walnut, pine, cherry wood or aluminum, black-anodized aluminum, brushed aluminum, stainless steel, tungsten steel, gun metal, titanium....or GOLD!.

70. COZMAN

Posts: 99; Member since: Nov 28, 2013

What a stupid move. You can call this the official end of Motorola as we know it. Just when they were starting to become what they used to be, innovators they are sold to bla blah blah Lenovo. My Moto X just went up for sale.

69. cdgoin

Posts: 614; Member since: Jul 28, 2010

This is weird.. given the new US facility and everything Google was doing. For a company that always looks long term.. seems like a snap decision. I feel sorry for the US Motorola plant.. this doesn't bode well for them.

66. My1cent

Posts: 370; Member since: Jan 30, 2014

Guess Moto canceled too many orders! So Google sells Moto to Lenovo lol.

65. kozza3

Posts: 778; Member since: Oct 17, 2012

i wonder what they will do with the Moto X2

61. Leonis

Posts: 338; Member since: Jan 08, 2014

Lenovo is a good company. Motorola is in good hands. Lenovo might not have done a great phone yet but they are quite new to high end smartphones. With Motorola they will get all the experience they can ask for. I predict a similar path like Sony did with Ericsson. Lenovo will turn out great in 2-3 years to come. It might seems a lot but they will have had a good reputation from China and asian market by then. HTC is losing big in europe and america. LG just gained good reputation again with phones like G2 but still 2-3 years from massive recognition of great high end phones. The button layout scare some people away. Lenovo has a big chance as long as they keep getting quality phones out.

64. Jommick

Posts: 221; Member since: Sep 10, 2013

Agreed. Lenovo did wonderful things when they started manufacturing ThinkPad laptops - IMO, they're some of the best business machines around. I'm interested to see what they'd do with Motorola, and if they would decide to keep the manufacturing facility in Dallas for making Motorola phones; possibly adding tablets to the lineup as well.

71. genkidama20

Posts: 52; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

Lenovo already has manufacturing in North Carolina for some of their products. I don't see why they would get rid of the Motorola plants in Texas. At least not for a long time. It's a win win situation for both Lenovo and Motorola. Motorola gets backed by a successful PC hardware company. And Lenovo gets it foot in the door in the US. I think the partnership is good for both companies. Lenovo improved every company it has purchased so far; IBM, NEC, Medion, CCE, etc... The only people complaining are the fairweather Motorola users who are really just Google fans who feel like they're getting dumped by their boyfriend.

58. Genersis

Posts: 219; Member since: May 29, 2013

A few things worry me. Lenovo's phones aren't really well supported software wise post launch, and also their phones aren't really as...inspired as Motorola's. I hope they don't gut the company; hopefully Motorola will stay mostly the same as they are now, and only lightly influenced by Lenovo. I did feel better knowing Google was supporting them...maybe there's still one or two Google guided phones in the pipeline at Motorola?

52. corporateJP

Posts: 2458; Member since: Nov 28, 2009

Another giant (however, on life support from Google), has officially fallen. Odd that the two biggest names in cellular history, Motorola and Nokia, will be owned by two somebody else...

54. LoveHater

Posts: 235; Member since: Oct 09, 2013

Its better to be under Microsoft than SOULESS CHINESE OEM

56. Commentator

Posts: 3723; Member since: Aug 16, 2011

Lenovo has been praised as one of the most innovative and progressive Chinese OEMs. Their CEO is apparently one of the most beloved execs in the country, regularly forfeiting his bonuses to his employees. I'd venture to say Lenovo has more soul than MS.

49. nsxviper

Posts: 3; Member since: Mar 29, 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?

44. BattleBrat

Posts: 1476; Member since: Oct 26, 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.

46. Berzerk000

Posts: 4275; Member since: Jun 26, 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.

43. JunitoNH

Posts: 1946; Member since: Feb 15, 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!!!

68. IHatePhones

Posts: 99; Member since: Aug 12, 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.

42. BattleBrat

Posts: 1476; Member since: Oct 26, 2011

NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

40. Berzerk000

Posts: 4275; Member since: Jun 26, 2011

Well... Sh*t.

33. kaikuheadhunterz

Posts: 1157; Member since: Jul 18, 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

41. Glim12808

Posts: 394; Member since: Oct 26, 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.

60. kaikuheadhunterz

Posts: 1157; Member since: Jul 18, 2013

They already clarified that they will let Motorola independantly

31. aldridhl

Posts: 77; Member since: Feb 12, 2011

lol hot potato

30. asimshami

Posts: 1; Member since: Jan 29, 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.

29. papss unregistered

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

48. domfonusr

Posts: 1106; Member since: Jan 17, 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!

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