Google Declares War

Earlier today, Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) announced a $12.5 billion deal for Motorola Mobility (NYSE: MMI  ) . Get all the details from my Foolish colleague Anders Bylund. I'm writing to offer additional context, beginning with what CEO Larry Page posted about the deal in his Google+ feed.

If you've yet to see it, Page shared four quotes from the Big G’s primary Android partners. Here they are as he had them:

  • "We welcome today's news, which demonstrates Google's deep commitment to defending Android, its partners, and the ecosystem." [Emphasis added.]
    -- J.K. Shin, president, Samsung, Mobile Communications Division
  • "I welcome Google's commitment to defending Android and its partners." [Emphasis added.]
    -- Bert Nordberg, president and CEO, Sony Ericsson
  • “We welcome the news of today's acquisition, which demonstrates that Google is deeply committed to defending Android, its partners, and the entire ecosystem." [Emphasis added.]
    -- Peter Chou, CEO, HTC
  • "We welcome Google's commitment to defending Android and its partners." [Emphasis added.]
    -- Jong-Seok Park, president and CEO, LG Electronics Mobile Communications

Notice how "defending Android" is in every quote? I can tell you two things about this:

  1. The quotes were orchestrated by Google's PR team.
  2. Google believes it's in a war with Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) , Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) , Nokia (NYSE: NOK  ) , and Research In Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM  ) .

Bye-bye, Fun Google
As a professional scribe, I've come to believe that words always matter. In this announcement and those preceding it, Google has taken to the literary equivalent of drum-beating -- a call to arms, if you will, meant to be answered not just by Google's own internal developers but also a wider community of partners.

Today, this means Google is putting more wood behind fewer arrows (i.e., arming itself) and "defending Android" (i.e., girding for battle). Don't be surprised if we soon see announcements about a new Nexus tablet designed to "attack" the broader opportunity Apple is taking advantage of with the iPad. Or maybe a new and improved Android developer program designed to "rally the troops" in the "battle" to create a smartphone "empire." This is warmongering, Silicon Valley style. And it means the end of Fun Google -- the Google that would try anything just for the sake of seeing if it could work. The company that thought about creating its own think tank, purely because it could. The company that boldly declared in the founders' 2004 letter to prospective shareholders that it would "fund projects that have a 10% chance of earning a billion dollars over the long term."

That company is gone, replaced by one with a singular strategic vision -- one that's becoming focused, vertically integrated, and, with Motorola Mobility, well-armed for the global fight to dominate the market for smart mobile devices.

Meet Warrior Google
Anyone else love the irony of seeing Page -- a man who not long ago needed "adult supervision" supplied by now-Chairman Eric Schmidt -- leading the war effort? Apparently, the old CEO was too soft for battle, not ready for the sort of hand-to-hand combat that Apple and Microsoft have engaged in for decades. Page apparently wants Google, in a massive cultural shift, to adopt this same sort of tenacity. And he's willing to pay billions to create a War Machine capable of taking the fight to his foes.

Do you agree? Disagree? Weigh in using the comments box below. And if you're in the mood for more stock ideas, try this free video. You'll walk away with a better understanding of the cloud-computing revolution that's helped give rise to Google and reshape countless other industries, as well as a winning pick from our Motley Fool Rule Breakers scorecard. Start watching now -- it's 100% free.

Fool contributorTim Beyers is a member of theMotley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team. He owned shares of Apple and Google at the time of publication. Check out Tim'sportfolio holdings andFoolish writings, or connect with him on Google+ or Twitter, where he goes by @milehighfool. You can also get his insightsdelivered directly to your RSS reader.

The Motley Fool owns shares of Google, Microsoft, Research In Motion, and Apple.Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Microsoft, Google, and Apple and creating bull call spread positions in Microsoft and Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy.

Read/Post Comments (8) | Recommend This Article (9)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

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 15, 2011, at 8:24 PM, TruffelPig wrote:

    About time :) - a mean mighty GOOG so that AAPL doesn't get complacent. I own both stocks :).

  • Report this Comment On August 15, 2011, at 9:38 PM, FutureMonkey wrote:


    Google and Apple are like Coke and Pepsi. Healthy competition that inspires the other to improve and innovate enriching investors in either company. I anticipate both to continue their stories long into our future.


  • Report this Comment On August 15, 2011, at 11:16 PM, thethreestooges wrote:

    Goog declares War? Are they suing someone for MMI patents? I thought they are being sued by AAPL, Oracle, MSFT!

    So, you are saying Goog declare war because someone already attacking them and they finally bought a defensive shield.

    Yeah, let the war siren sound and run to the bomb shelter. It is war time....

  • Report this Comment On August 16, 2011, at 12:08 AM, Sparkynet wrote:

    First of all, what a great time to be a patent lawyer. They are all on speed dial now.

    Actually, I think this is more about tablets than smartphones. Googlerola will probably develop a Chrome tablet. This could be huge. I can't see Microsoft's clunky software making any inroads in this area.

  • Report this Comment On August 16, 2011, at 9:35 AM, 1CADFool wrote:

    How unfortunate is it that this acquisition is likely to be motivated mostly by patent war considerations rather than products and technology.

    In the old days Microsoft used to spent $0 on lobbying Washington or countersuing competitors. They just competed in the marketplace. These days they spent unbelievable amounts on lobbying and in courts.

    Google now plays the same game. Building their own hardware does not seem to mesh well with their business strategy of making open systems and capitalizing on resulting market forces. Thus this deal must be about the patents. I wish they'd focus more on innovation.

  • Report this Comment On August 16, 2011, at 10:05 AM, mikecoursey wrote:

    What few people seem to realize is this move is more about Google defending its moat to do what it does better than any other company on the face of the planet.

    Can anyone here tell me what business Google is really in?

    I'll give you "The Golden Fool Award" if you can.

  • Report this Comment On August 16, 2011, at 10:40 AM, bghouse wrote:

    "Can anyone here tell me what business Google is really in?"

    [Waving hand furiously] Oh, oh, I know, I know. Building a humongous database of each and everyone of our search strings, browsing histories, buying decisions, secret desires, and dominant buying motives - to be sold to the highest bidder. Right? Did I win? Did I?

  • Report this Comment On August 16, 2011, at 3:49 PM, wjcoffman wrote:

    "Building a humongous database of each and everyone of our search strings, browsing histories, buying decisions, secret desires, and dominant buying motives - to be sold to the highest bidder."


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