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Jeff Jarvis Headshot

Google Buys Rat Poison

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The Google/Motorola deal is lawyer repellent. Or rat poison, if you
prefer. It is a tragic and wasteful byproduct of our screwed-up
patent system. Just this year, $18 billion is being spent not on
innovation and invested not in entrepreneurship and growth but instead
in fending off lawsuits. Damn straight, we need patent reform.

Having said that, this is good for Google and Android and its
ecosystem. That's why HTC, LG, and Sony all released statements href="bit.ly/qfmMVt">praising the deal. Google isn't going into
competition with them. Google is buying them protection to defend
against Apple, Nokia, and other patent holders and legal thugs.

The net result is that Android can now explode even more than it has
already. I imagine -- I hope -- there were other companies in other
fields -- cars, appliances, TV, devices of all sorts -- that were
waiting for some security so they could add connectivity to their
devices, using Android.

Google wins because, as I've been saying, the real war here is over
signal generation: Google, Facebook, and to an extent Apple and telcos
and others want us to generate signals about ourselves -- who we are,
where we are, what we want, who we know, what we're looking for, where
we're going -- so they can better target their content, services, and
advertising. Mobile is a great signal generator.

But I've also been saying that mobile will become a meaningless word
as we become connected everywhere, all the time. Who's to say or care
whether we're connected with a phone as we walk, through our car, on
our couch via the TV, in the kitchen via the iFridge, or at the desk
(remember that?). Mobile=local=me.

I disagree with those who say that Google had hardware envy vis a vis
Apple. Google went into the hardware business and was smart enough to
get out. I imagine that Google will operate Motorola as an independent
entity; it won't become Googley. Indeed, I can imagine Google spinning
off the product arm, keeping the rat poison.

So this is a good if unfortunate deal to have to be done. That's my take.

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