Google in full retreat as it sells Motorola to Lenovo

Google doesn’t get it spectacularly wrong very often but it certainly did with its purchase of US handset maker Motorola which it bought for $12.5bn in 2012 but has now flogged to Lenovo for $2.9bn including a face-saving five per cent stake in the Chinese computer maker.

The news is also a blow for Droga5, the New York agency which Motorola hired to help its recovery based on a ‘Made In America’ platform. Droga’s work for Motorola’s supposedly transformational Moto X phone was much praised but the hard facts are that Motorola lost over $600m last year.

It seems that people liked the ad (over 15m YouTube hits) but didn’t buy the phone, in sufficient numbers anyway. It’s a bit like Apple’s ‘Designed in California’ schtick. Gadget buyers clearly don’t give a damn where something is made.

At the time it was said that Google was only buying Motorola for its 17,000 or so patents, which it needed to protect its Android system which powers most of the world’s non-Apple smartphones. But some of Android’s corporate clients were less than thrilled to see Google entering the hardware market, presumably with first pick of new Android stuff. So a bit of a disaster all round, patents or no patents.

Never mind Google. Stick to driver-less cars and smart specs.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.

One comment

  1. I’m very surprised that Google has decided to give up on Motorola. With the world increasingly accessing the net through mobile devices, the rewards for getting this right would have been huge.

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