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Motorola Mobility’s Megan Nicholas on Googarola and the future of BlackBerry

At the recent South African launch event for the Motorola XOOM tablet and ATRIX smartphone, the lush gadgetry on offer was actually the last thing on my mind. Just two days prior to the event, Google had announced that it had entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Motorola Mobility for a hefty premium.

In the middle of this electric atmosphere, I had a few minutes to sit down with Megan Nicholas, the country director for Mobility South Africa.

I wanted to know what her thoughts were on the acquisition:

“I’m very excited, the Google and Motorola partnership has been strong from the beginning with Android. Motorola has been one of the front runners with Android. It makes us better and stronger.”

Soon after the acquisition news broke, speculation as to what triggered it ran rife. Was this a defensive move by Google to protect Android from Oracle, Microsoft and Apple’s escalating patent litigation? Was Google reacting to losing out on the Nortel patent bid? Was Google trying to protect its OEMs from Motorola’s threats to wage patent warfare against other Android handset makers?

Whatever the motivation, Google would be in a better position to defend Android with Motorola’s venerable patent portfolio in its arsenal.

Dan Lyons believes the acquisition had been a long time coming and that the Nortel bid was simply an attempt to drive up the price so Google’s competitors would overpay. John Gruber disagrees and believes the deal was struck as a knee-jerk reaction shortly after the failed bid, and came together in less than 5 weeks.

I wanted to know if Nicholas thought Google had been in talks with Motorola for a while, or whether she thought it was a desperate attempt do defend Android.

“We are listed companies, so it’s got to be kept under wraps until the last minute. You know corporates, they don’t put this deal together over the weekend. I don’t think it’s a knee-jerk reaction, it’s been a long time discussion.”

In the days before the acquisition it almost seemed as if Motorola was forcing Google into an acquisition by the way that it publicly spoke about waging a patent war against other Android manufacturers, and how it was considering Windows Phone 7 for Motorola smartphones. Following a gloomy last quarter and an underwhelming forecast for the current, it seemed like Motorola’s woes might have been mitigated by the acquisition and I wondered if Google and Motorola Mobility would continue to operate as separate entities.

“Both Google and Motorola have stated that both companies will continue to run as separate entities, completely, worldwide. Where Google’s got presence, Motorola has a presence. We’re in 89 countries.”

Nicholas had some interesting thoughts about Android, Sanjay Jha’s Windows Phone 7 comments prior to the acquisition, and the future of BlackBerry in South Africa.

“Before the acquisition talks commenced, no commitment was officially made to other operating systems. Android is working well for us and Android exclusivity is confirmed for this year. It’s dominating the world, and it will dominate South Africa as well. BlackBerry will lose its market share.”

Finally, I couldn’t find a person at the event not running a Gingerbread build on their Motorola ATRIX. Curious since the device launches with Froyo. I asked Nicholas about it, and it revealed some interesting insight into how Motorola Mobility tests builds for the local market, and the availability of Gingerbread for the ATRIX.

“I’m using Gingerbread on mine. We’re all testing. I’m using the AT&T build, but we’re all using different builds for testing purposes. I was given the AT&T build because it’s probably the most stable. We all help test the phones, it’s part of our lives, if it drops calls, we report it to the software engineers. Builds are tested for a minimum of 8 weeks. Gingerbread will be available for the Atrix locally, close to launch in a few weeks.”

Author | Martin Carstens

Martin Carstens
Obsessed with technology and the future, I write words for machines and people. Born in South Africa, now living in the United States. More
  • Hi Martin,

    Thanks for the insight in this article. Personally mobile is still to reach new heights here in SA. People will buy what they can afford, if it comes with all the “bells and whistles” and is priced right it will sell like a wild fire.

    Techy guys and gals will be more willing to spend, if more is offered and on a stable platform.

  • Pingback: Google: Have They Just Been Very Clever Indeed Over Motorola Mobility? – Forbes | News About Google | Latest Changes and happening in Google()

  • sisterIT

    The most skilled player on Fifa Street Player is definitely Lionel Messi. (PS3)

  • Ryan

    lionel messi for sure :) (xbox)

  • Elle Romsky

    Thierry Daniel Henry (Xbox)

  • GuestWho

    Definitely Tiger Woods. 

  • Not sure how strong his football skills are…

  • jono mac

    Cristiano Ronaldo (Xbox)

  • Kyle Lane

    Well with out a doubt its going to be lionel messi, which I’m sure will be everyones top choice after cristiano ronoldo. Messi has skills that other soccer players wish for, he is still so young and been footballer of the year 3 times. His vision on the field is out of this world and makes everything look so simple even if its dribbling 3 defenders in the box and having a sneaky chip over the keeper to score. PS3

  • sisterIT

    Did I win? Please tell me I won? I love FIFA AND PS!!!!! Please please please hehehe

  •  The most skilled player on Fifa Street Player is Lionel Messi (Xbox)

  • Karim Benzema!!!! GREAT SHOT! PS3 baby!!

  • Yannicktabko

     The most skilled player on Fifa Street Player is Lionel Messi (PS3)

  • Harouna

    lionel messi is the most  skilled in fifa street (PS3)

  • Messi is the most skilled Fifa Street player by far! I need the Xbox version thank you

  • sisterIT

    Any news on when the winner will be announced? I LOVE PS3 hehee

  • Germichany

    I would have to agree with the others – def Lionel Messi (PS3) 

  • mwsader

    I’ve been waiting and been waitingFor what seems like an ageConstantly connectedTo their Facebook page
    I’ve been reading all the reviewsAnd clicked on all the linksWhere is this brilliant GiveawayThat’s what everybody thinks
    I’ll take this off your hands for youI’ll take it just for meSo hurry up and post it – I do no want to delvePlease please send My Memeburn FIFA Street 2012
    Okay I’m done :) The answer is the little maestro – Lionel Messi (PS3)

  • Ronny

    I’d say Robihno, if you know how to use him.

  • Lionel Messi  without a doubt PS3

  • Msoor

    lionel messi PS3

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