Google partners could well become rivals, while the other major players in the mobile computing arena, such as Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL), Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) and Research in Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM) all will be affected - some negatively, but some positively.
The new partnership also could inspire other merger and acquisition activity in the sector, between large, cash-rich companies and small, struggling ones.
Let's take a look at how the Google-Motorola deal, which was announced on Monday, will alter the mobile computing landscape, company by company:
Google: A Mixed BagPrimarily, Google bought Motorola to acquire its vast patent portfolio to better defend its mobile operating system, Android, from a rising number of patent lawsuits.
"Motorola has a strong patent portfolio which will help protect Android from anti-competitive threats from Microsoft, Apple and other companies," Google CEO Larry Page said in Monday's conference call.
Although most of the lawsuits have been aimed at handset makers such as HTC Corp. (OTC: HTCXF), Samsung Electronics LTD (PINK: SSNLF), and Motorola, the common thread was Android. Microsoft focused on collecting licensing fees for each handset, while Apple's strategy was to halt the sale of devices competing with its own iPhone and iPad products.
The typical defense to patent lawsuits is another patent lawsuit, but you need to possess a broad portfolio to do that. Google, which had a mere 700 patents before, will add Motorola's 24,000 patents to its arsenal.