Google+Moto: “Like a Python That Swallowed a Minivan”

Steve Wildstrom / August 17th, 2011

Michael Mace, who knows more about mobile computing than just about anyone around, is deeply skeptical about Google’s purchase of Motorola Mobility. “Either Google’s worldview will dominate and ruin Motorola, or worse yet the Motorola worldview will infect Google,” he writes in an insightful post on his MobileOpportunity blog. “Google with Motorola inside it is like a python that swallowed a minivan.”

Mace, now CEO of Cera Technologies, knows whereof he speaks, having held executive posts at Apple, Palm, and Palm’s ill-fated OS licensing spin-off, PalmSource.

One big problem he sees is Google’s lack of experience in  hardware: “Speaking as someone who worked at PalmSource for its whole independent history, an OS company always believes that it could do a better job of making hardware than its licensees.  It’s incredibly frustrating to have a vision for what people should do with your software, and then see them screw it up over and over.  The temptation is to build some hardware yourself, just to show those idiots how to do it right. I think maybe Google just gave in to that temptation.”

The full post is well worth reading.

Steve Wildstrom

Steve Wildstrom is veteran technology reporter, writer, and analyst based in the Washington, D.C. area. He created and wrote BusinessWeek’s Technology & You column for 15 years. Since leaving BusinessWeek in the fall of 2009, he has written his own blog, Wildstrom on Tech and has contributed to corporate blogs, including those of Cisco and AMD and also consults for major technology companies.
  • Soloren2001

    I love the metaphor and yes, I think that the acquisition is raising serious challenges for Google as well as opportunities.

    However, Google is still very capable in term of innovation. Why wouldn’t they succeed like apple in full integration. In a way the have always been used to tightly controlling everything. None of their services is based on something they didn’t built. Even though they use Open Source technologies, they are not afraid to rebuild and question everything from the ground up (Big Table, Storage engines…). They love control as much as Apple and they work hard to integrate their service with one another (Google Apps migrated to Google Accounts, etc.).

    In other words, I think that saying “OS company always believes that it could do a better job of making hardware than its licensees” is really forgetting how capable Google is to innovate. I am sure that swallowing the python will take time but: so long as they are swallowing they won’t pose a threat to Android partners and when/if they start blowing competition away with new devices (after they’ve swallowed the van) they will have an huge edge.

    Let’s not forget that computer sales are down. Tablet remains a iPad market. Android is still the only force that can help some of these manufacturer thrive. All this should help keep the Android alliance strong.

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