Google’s Motorola Mobility Acquisition to Impact STB Makers

Google’s acquisition of Motorola Mobility (MM) will have implications in the industry that makes and buys pay-TV set-top boxes. That’s assuming that Google doesn’t take the Motorola Mobility patents and run by selling the smartphone/tablet and STB box operations to someone else, either together or separately. Cisco, Pace, Technicolor and perhaps Sony or Samsung might be interested in the STB business. HTC, LG, Samsung or Sony Ericsson might be interested in buying the smartphone operations.

Motorola chief Sanjay Jha has said since he first joined MM that he thinks there can be a powerful synergy between mobile devices and TV-connected STBs. It only takes a cursory examination of Apple, Samsung and Vizio to see how they can be “entergized” in consumers’ homes. Vizio last week launched a $300 8-inch tablet that can serve as the remotes for Vizio TVs and a dizzying array of surround sound system brands.

Google Chief Larry Page said in announcing the acquisition, “Motorola Mobility’s total commitment to Android has created a natural fit for our two companies. Together, we will create amazing user experiences that supercharge the entire Android ecosystem for the benefit of consumers, partners and developers.”

Gupta said the deal will allow for “real convergence” in Motorola’s smartphones, tablets and STB businesses.

Both companies face two common competitors in smartphones, tablets and TV-connected STBs: Apple and Microsoft.

For starters, Google and Motorola Mobility might plot a strategy that could:

– Produce a saleable Google TV technology that consumers could figure out how to use. That’s something Motorola Mobility is so much better at doing than Google — not that anyone could have created a user interface worse than Google’s.

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