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How Google and Motorola May Help Microsoft and Nokia

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Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) and Motorola Mobility (NYSE: MMI  ) are taking center stage today to announce their union. Behind the scenes, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) and Nokia (NYSE: NOK  ) may end up being a couple of inadvertent beneficiaries.

The Gootorola deal is notable since it puts Google directly into the hardware game. There's already been some speculation about a possible Microkia combo, sending Nokia shares upwards of around 14% today.

If Microsoft chooses to venture directly into hardware (and that's a pretty big if), Nokia would be the top candidate. With an ex-Microsoft exec at the helm, Nokia has been pushing Windows Phone pretty aggressively while renouncing the Symbian platform.

With all the patent talk of late, don’t forget that Nokia has its own portfolio of patents, some of which even scored against Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) . Not that Apple should be too concerned about Nokia’s market share, but a victory is still a victory. A Nokia purchase would also go hand in hand with its losses, which may put a damper on the prospects of an all-out acquisition.

Google will suddenly become a direct competitor with other popular smartphone makers like Samsung and HTC, which have both significantly contributed to Android’s rise. While both those companies, along with other leading Android phone makers, have voiced support for the deal, they must prepare for the possibility that Motorola will get favorable treatment from its new parent. For example, this could manifest through earlier access to software updates, which would make Android decidedly less open -- one of its key benefits to OEMs.

Windows Phone just became a lot more relevant. It's highly doubtful that any of the Android OEMs will jump ship anytime soon, but they need to weigh their options if worse comes to worst. It broaches the idea that if Android becomes patently less competitive and open, then Windows Phone may swiftly become a viable alternative.

What do you think? Can Windows Phone gain traction in a market dominated by Android and iOS? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Fool contributor Evan Niu owns shares of Apple, but he holds no other position in any company mentioned. Check out his holdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Google, Microsoft, and Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Apple, Google, and Microsoft and creating bull call spread positions in Apple and Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On August 16, 2011, at 10:11 AM, mikecoursey wrote:

    I view the notion that Samsung and HTC should be scared about Google's acquisition of Motorola in much the same way Warren Buffet was told he shouldn't be a Director of Coca-Cola because Berkshire Hathaway owns Dairy Queen.

    It is absolutely ludicrous given the stake they have in Android.

    Then again, not many people really know what the core business of Google is so I suppose I shouldn't be surprised.

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