Google’s Got “Cupertino Envy”
Google’s acquisition of Motorola Mobility is many things: A defensive patent play, a strengthening of the company’s tightening hold on the mobile market, a bolstering of its stagnant TV box business and one other:
A validation of Apple’s business model and a tacit acknowledgement that Google feels the company’s unified approach to hardware and software is the way to go — especially in mobile.
With the purchase of Motorola Mobility, Google has gained the ability to create smartphones of its own without the constraints on design and development that typically encumber OEM partnerships. It’s seizing the same top-to-bottom control of Android that Apple has long had over its operating systems and the hardware that runs on them. As Gleacher analyst Brian Marshall quips, “Google has ‘Cupertino envy.’ By acquiring Motorola Mobility, it’s attempting to follow in the footsteps of Apple’s vertically integrated approach to product design.”
Which isn’t a bad idea, given Google’s difficulties with Android hardware optimization. Taking complete control of the user experience and designing both hardware and software to the company’s specifications has certainly worked well for Apple. The company sold 20.3 million iPhones last quarter, up 142 percent from the same quarter a year earlier. And in late July it ousted Nokia as the largest smartphone maker in the world. Apple’s absolute control over the iPhone, iOS and the apps that run on it has served the company well, and Google knows it, says Gartner analyst Michael Gartenberg.
“Google has clearly seen the success Apple has had with integrated, end-to-end devices where they control both hardware and software,” Gartenberg says. “It makes sense Google would want a vehicle where they can make sure their vision of mobility is executed as they see it, without the need to rely on third parties to deliver.”