Google places "big bet" on mobile computing with Motorola Mobility acquisition

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Motorola Mobility's new CEO Dennis Woodside.
Motorola Mobility's new CEO Dennis Woodside.

Google closed a $12.9 billion deal to acquire Motorola Mobility Holdings, Google CEO Larry Page announced on a May 22 blog post. Google is acquiring the company for $40 a share in cash, said a Google spokesperson. The acquisition was first announced Aug. 15, 2011.

According to a Google spokesperson, speaking on background, the company had identified a significant shift to mobile computing. The spokesperson added that while there are currently 800 million smartphones in the world, there are also six billion mobile devices total—all of which Google anticipates will eventually be replaced by smart devices.

Google identified a large market opportunity, the spokesperson said, and appreciated Motorola's "deep innovation and great intellectual property." Motorola has had its share of successes; in 2004, the device manufacturer produced the extremely popular RAZR handset. The spokesperson characterized Google's acquisition as a "big bet" on the continued ubiquity of mobile computing.

Motorola will be run as an independent business unit and will retain its brand, the Google spokesperson said.

Motorola stated in a release that Motorola will remain a licensee of Android. The acquisition will also allow Google to “supercharge the Android ecosystem and will enhance competition in mobile computing,” the release stated.

Dennis Woodside, previously Google's president of sales and operations for the Americas, will lead Motorola as CEO after Sanjay Jha stepped down. Woodside has already made several appointments.

Mark Randall, previously Amazon's VP of supply chain, digital, will now lead Google's supply chain and operations. Regina Dougan, previously director at the Defense Advance Research Projects Agency (DARPA)—the US Department of Defense's research division —is in a newly created role, SVP of Google's new advanced technology and projects group.

Gary Briggs, previously VP of Google's consumer marketing, will now lead the marketing division at Motorola. Vanessa Wittman, previously with Marsh & McLennan, is now Motorola's chief financial officer. Scott Sullivan, previously Visa's global head of human resources, will lead Motorola's people operations.

“Many users coming online today may never use a desktop machine, and the impact of that transition will be profound—was will the ability to just tap and pay with your phone. That's why it's a great time to be in the mobile business,” said Page in the blog post.

Google's acquisition of Motorola's device manufacturing arm closes just as search giant has re-started its business selling Android-powered handsets direct to consumers instead of exclusively through partners.

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