Goodbye Moto: Google offloads Motorola to Lenovo for $2.91bn

Goodbye Moto: Google offloads Motorola to Lenovo for .91bnWow. We didn't see that coming.

Google has sold Motorola to Lenovo in a deal worth nearly $3bn, just 18 months after acquiring the struggling mobile brand for upwards of $12bn.

Lenovo isn't taking ownership of the US phone maker in its entirety, however; Google has held onto Moto's R&D division, as well as its trove of patents.

Securing those patents is what most people assumed Google was interested in when it pounced on Motorola in the first place back in August 2012. And it's hard not to return to the same conclusion now.

The move certainly makes sense from Lenovo's perspective. It's been looking for this kind of deal for a while now, and has previously been linked with a move for BlackBerry, another big North American phone name that's seen better days.

Having Motorola under its wing gives the Chinese brand a big leg-up into the US, a market where its mobile division has traditionally struggled, while for Motorola it means easy access into the fast-growing Chinese smartphone market.

“The acquisition of such an iconic brand, innovative product portfolio and incredibly talented global team will immediately make Lenovo a strong global competitor in smartphones,” a Lenovo statement reads.

“We will immediately have the opportunity to become a strong global player in the fast-growing mobile space,” he added.

Things are less clear cut when it comes to Google. It spent a large part of last year talking up its plans for Motorola (even if actual products were few and far between), so either that was all empty talk or things haven't quite gone as well as Google was hoping.

Even if that is the case, however, Google isn't admitting it, saying only that Motorola would “be better served by Lenovo”, though it insists “this does not signal a larger shift for our other hardware efforts”.

Lenovo has already made it clear it won't be shaking things up too much at Motorola (or at least, not at first), and says it's more than happy with the job being done by the current Google-inspired Moto X and Moto G.

What we should see over the duration of Lenovo's three-year transformation plan for Motorola is a move to also embrace bigger screened phablets and tablets.

As with all deals of this size, it'll take a while for everything to be finalised, so there'll be plenty of time for speculation in the weeks and months to come.

Add a comment

Pondlife  Jan. 30, 2014 at 12:31

Seems slightly odd for Lenovo as there can't be much margin in the moto G though unusually more in the US than here...
Might see a return to slower OS updates for Motorola too, which is rather a pity though maybe a Motorola Nexus is more likely in the autumn now. It'd be nice to see one that's likely to address one of it's bigger issues of late the weak battery life.

JanSt / MOD  Jan. 30, 2014 at 12:46

Pondlife  Jan. 30, 2014 at 12:54

Hmmm. ok then.

richto  Jan. 30, 2014 at 13:01

Great, now they can make a Windows Phone.....

JanSt / MOD  Jan. 30, 2014 at 13:13

Hmmm. ok then.
That image came up when I 'googled' "suspicious" ;)

Pondlife  Jan. 30, 2014 at 13:18

I really could have just repeated my Hmmm. ok then.
Why did you google suspicious anyway?
I could have used the same Hmmm. ok then to reply to richto too, damn it's versatile.

Pondlife  Jan. 31, 2014 at 22:38


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