Google's Mobile Bet Could Prove Tricky

The success of Google's $12.5B deal to buy Motorola Mobility depends on the company's ability to ease concerns of carriers and device makers, say analysts.

Google's plan to pay $12.5 billion for Motorola Mobility has mobile carriers and smartphone and OS makers scrambling to figure out how the proposed deal will affect them, analysts say.

Google CEO Larry Page said he expects the deal, announced last week, to "supercharge the entire Android ecosystem" and "better protect Android from anticompetitive threats from Microsoft, Apple and other companies" by giving Google ownership of Motorola Mobility's 24,500 patents.

Google said it expects the deal to close by early next year.

Motorola Mobility, which employs about 20,000 people, was spun out of Motorola Inc. early this year. The company is split into two groups: Mobile Devices, which manufactures smartphones and tablet devices, and Home, which makes set-top boxes and other IPTV equipment.

The addition of Motorola's Droid to Google's product inventory will likely create some tensions, at least early on, among carriers that sell the popular smartphone and other Android-based mobile devices, according to analysts.

Relying on carriers to distribute the products of a substantial hardware business will be a new experience for Google, and how the company handles it could determine whether the deal is ultimately successful, said Roger Entner, an analyst at Recon Analytics.

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