Google’s Recent Acquisition Shutdowns, and the Symptoms of Buyout Culture

Google’s Recent Acquisition Shutdowns, and the Symptoms of Buyout Culture

Jun 15, 2012

Google is climbing into startups’ windows and snatching their apps up trying to buy them out, so Android users better hide their apps and cloud services cause Google is buying everyone out here! Seriously, despite the 2010 pop culture reference, Google has made two recent acquisitions of user-focused cloud services companies.

First there was Quickoffice, who were purchased by Google shortly after their Connect service launched for accessing and editing documents from anywhere was launched. Those who purchased the service plans got refunds, and the apps have been pulled. It appears as if Google wants to implement their technology into Google Apps, and possibly even make Google Drive more powerful.

As well, Google acquired multiplatform IM app Meebo. While they also had a toolbar that websites could roll out that helped provide advertising and social features (and may be part of the reason Google acquired them), the news that the team would be joining Google+ shows that Google wants to expand their social functionality, and the cross-platform experience of Meebo will help with that. However, it appears that the Meebo app will be disappearing into the aether as well.

While these aren’t the only apps that offer the features that they do, they will leave a gap in the markets they serve, and users will have to shift to other apps that they may find don’t provide what they need. It’s almost the risk that users take when using products from startups: some bigger fish might come around and gobble them up for their own purposes.

Though, this kind of fate may be inevitable for those that build their products on the backs of others’ services and protocols, that if they do it well enough, they’ll be part of the official service – and they’ll be much richer for having done so. The climate of venture capitalists and angel investors may encourage many to chase paydays rather than self-sustaining products, something that iOS developer TapTapTap just came out against.

There’s a reason why Instagram still exists: they built their own service. They helped to spur on the filtered photograph trend and created their own network, and they’ve reaped the rewwards: a massive payday and their continued existence. They both won and surived at buyout culture.

Google Buys Motorola Mobility; What Do They Want, Though?

Google made a major splash yesterday, announcing that they bought Motorola’s mobile division for over $12.5 billion cash; the deal was announced by Larry Page on Google’s official blog. Analysts from armchairs to Wall Street have been weighing in on the deal and what it could mean for the future of Android. There seem to be three things that Google wants out of this deal.

1. Google wants patents.

Motorola has a lot of patents, being one of the first mobile phone companies. They have about 12,500 patents issued, with about 7,500 pending. There’s been plenty of legal wrangling over patents like these, now Google can safeguard Android even further by having control over these patents, and being able to license these to other Android manufacturers. Google wanting Motorola’s patents initially was one hypothesis laid down toward why Google mae this purchase, before eventually just deciding to buy the whole company.

2. Google wants to make money off of Android.

Google may be making money off of the deep Google integration in Android devices, either from licensing official Google apps and Market access, money from apps sold in the Android Market, and from mobile advertising, but the actual phones themselves are not bringing a lot in quite yet. By purchasing an actual Android phone manufacturer, and one that holds 29% of the US Android smartphone market, they can now make Android a viable financial proposition for themselves. The other handset makers may feel threatened by an official Google handset manufacturer, but Google seems open to at least leaving the option open for handset makers to continue to support Android. It would behoove Google to keep Android on as many devices as possible, as more users of the platform mean greater incentive for developers to support it.

3. Google wants to make a gPhone.

Sure, Google and Andy Rubin can deny that Motorola would be the manufacturer of the next Nexus phone, and that could possibly be true. However, thinking that Google won’t use their Motorola purchase in order to make a ‘pure’ Android experience the most popular devices out there seems foolish. The point of the Nexus devices are to be stock devices, pure Android experiences. They haven’t been the most popular of Android devices, though. Google could use Motorola’s relationship with the carriers to push their pure Android device. They could possibly pare down Motorola’s various devices to a core set of tablets and phones instead of the wide variety of random devices that currently dominate the Android market.