The media has been abuzz all week with news and analysis of the Google-Motorola deal. When all of the dust settles on the business logic behind the deal, or its impact on pending Android patent infringement, or what it means for the future of Google TV, the company that gains the most from this new relationship may just be Microsoft.
Microsoft was engaged in talks to acquire Motorola Mobility before Google swooped in. There is some speculation floating around that Microsoft may attempt to outbid Google for Motorola. Those rumors are highly unlikely unless Microsoft did it just as a game of financial chicken to force Google to up its bid and waste even more money on the Motorola deal.
There is also a conspiracy theory that Microsoft was never really interested in purchasing Motorola, and that the negotiations were a strategic move from the outset. Essentially, the theory claims that Microsoft only courted Motorola to lure Google into rashly snatching the company up just to keep it (and the sizeable patent portfolio) out of Microsoft's hands--and that Microsoft and Windows Phone 7 ultimately benefit from that alliance.
This theory has more credibility. Whether or not Microsoft's interest in Motorola was purely some insidious business strategy, the fact is that Microsoft is aggressively looking to take advantage of the alienation that other Android partners like Samsung, HTC, and LG might feel now that Google has its own smartphone and tablet manufacturing arm that competes directly with them.
Andy Lees, President of the Windows Phone division at Microsoft, said in a prepared statement, "Investing in a broad and truly open mobile ecosystem is important for the industry and consumers alike, and Windows Phone is now the only platform that does so with equal opportunity for all partners."
iOS is iOS. It is as closed as it always has been, and probably always will be, so there is no opportunity there for third-party partners. RIM also isn't looking for third-party BlackBerry partners, and that ship is sinking anyway. Android is "open" in some sort of bastardized sense of "open" that only makes sense to Google, and now Android partners have to contend with the fact that one of the main competitors in the market is Google itself. Then, you have Windows Phone 7, which can be freely licensed and doesn't have the mobile OS developer itself as a rival.
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