Technology giant Google has announced its plans to sell mobile phone manufacturer Motorola to Chinese firm Lenovo for $2.91 billion (£1.8 billion).
Lenovo will be buying a strong footing and international mobile phone brand with which it can expand its marketshare in the same way it did in the PC market after the purchase of the IBM ThinkPad brand in 2005, and Google will keep hold of the majority of the Motorola patent portfolio.
Google acquired Motorola in 2012 for $12.5 billion (£7.54 billion) in order to buy the former mobile phone giant’s patents to give Google a solid legal defence against the threats from Apple and Microsoft over the open source Android operating system. That acquisition put Google in the awkward position of both supplying an independent OS in Android, but also competing with its own Android manufacturer base and firms such as Samsung, HTC, and Sony, and selling that unit to Lenovo will make the Android ecosystem a more level playing field for all.
Moreover, by keeping hold of Motorola’s patent portfolio, Google will be able to continue to protect itself and Android smartphone and tablet manufacturers from legal challenges over intellectual property from competitors.
The two companies have signed an agreement, but as with all such major acquisitions the deal will also need to be approved by US and Chinese authorities.