It's the biggest story in the mobile world this week, as Google announced today that it would buy Motorola's mobile device unit for $12.5 billion.
Jeff Jarvis, author of What Would Google Do?, called the deal "lawyer repellent." He calls it a wasteful by-product of a patent system in dire need of reform. "Just this year, $18 billion is being spent not on innovation... but instead in fending off lawsuits," he wrote on his Google+ blog today.
My initial reaction was that current Android manufacturers may be in trouble, as Google now has a stake in the hardware game and will serve its own best interests in developing Android devices.
Jarvis, however, says the deal good for Google and Android and its ecosystem, noting that HTC, LG and Sony have all released statements in support of the deal. "Google isn't going into competition with them," Jarvis adds. "Google is buying them protection to defend against Apple, Nokia and other patent holders and legal thugs."
Google Chief Executive Larry Page said in a conference call that Motorola will operate as a separate unit and reiterated Google's commitment to keeping Android open, reported Roger Cheng of CNET News. Indeed, Google focused primarily on the legal protection it will gain from the deal.
"The net result is that Android can now explode even more than it has already," Jarvis writes. He believes the acquisition will allow other companies -- cars, appliances, TV, etc. -- the security they'd been waiting for in order to add Android connectivity to their products.
He foresees a future where mobile will develop beyond just phones. "Who's to say or care whether we're connected with a phone as we walk, through our car, on our couch via the TV, in the kitchen via the iFridge, or at the desk (remember that?). Mobile=local=me."
I suppose that's exactly what Google is hoping will happen: legal protection to allow Android to expand more freely across devices and manufacturers, even outside of the current mobile space. If so, this deal could be a lot bigger than it appears to be.