Friday, January 31, 2014

Google sells Motorola Mobility, Agrees with Samsung on Patent Accord

Two developments in recent days offer a powerful commentary on the future of the global ICT sector, with direct implications for South Korea's leading smartphone manufacturers.
First, as reported in the Korea Joongang Daily, Samsung Electronics has signed a 10-year patent cross license agreement with Google that will prevent the two companies from waging a patent war against one another, a move the Korean tech firm believes will help further isolate archrival Apple. As reported in the Joongang Daily, the agreement that covers “a broad range of technologies and business areas” with Google. The “mutually beneficial agreement” covers not only existing patents but also new patents to be filed by 2023, Samsung said. The deal, analysts say, will help the two companies improve on each other’s weak points: software in the case of Samsung and hardware for Google. But Samsung is also expected to benefit from some of the hardware technologies that Google has worked on in recent years, such as robotics and wearable devices.
The second development was the announcement by Google that it is selling its Motorola Mobility division to China's Lenovo for $2.91 billion.  As reported by Forbes, "Motorola Mobility was Google’s largest ever acquisition at $12.5 billion in 2012. Page says the decision was made because of the “super competitive” nature of the smartphone market. “Motorola will be better served by Lenovo—which as a rapidly growing smartphone business and is the largest (and fastest-growing) PC manufacturer in the world,” Page said today. “This move will enable Google to devote our energy to driving innovation across the Android ecosystem, for the benefit of smartphone users everywhere.” The sale doesn’t mean that Google isn’t interested in making hardware to run Android. Earlier this month, Google spent $3.2 billion to acquire smart thermostat maker Nest and bought several robotics companies last year. Page made a point of noting that Google’s vision for smart devices like the Nest and Google Glass, its Internet-connected eyewear, remains a focus for the company."
The most immediately apparent implication of this move for Korea is its impact on the nation's smartphone manufacturers, led by Samsung and LG.

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