Google to sell Motorola's hardware division to Huawei?

It's fair to say that Google's acquisition of Motorola Mobility was a big deal, raising questions about what the Android giant was planning to do with the hardware side of Motorola. While most people immediately thought Google could create their own Nexus devices, the company dismissed such plans, saying it planned to keep Motorola as a separate entity. After speaking with various sources, The Wall Street Journal suggests that Google was only interested in Motorola for the patents, and is planning to sell the hardware division to Huawei.

The WSJ believes that Google picked up Motorola purely for the 17,000 patents that they held in order to protect Android from legal assaults from the likes of Apple, among others. The article lays out how it doesn't make sense for Google to keep hold of Motorola, struggling with losses and a shrinking share in the smartphone market. Google isn't a hardware company either, and can't maintain its stance as a neutral Android software vendor if it chooses to start making hardware.

There is the other side to the argument: that Google could use Motorola to build the exact Nexus phone that it wants without having a bidding process involving the likes of HTC, Samsung, and LG. Not only would they have total control of the hardware from the start, they could continue to build the software around their requirements, making for a true Nexus phone, precisely how Google wants it. That would allow Google to go head-to-head with Apple directly.

Even if Google was to propose selling the hardware division of Motorola to Huawei, it would command a very high price, possibly more than the Chinese company could afford to pay. Chinese OEMs such as ZTE and Huawei, although gaining momentum in the western market, still aren't putting out the top-of-the-line smartphones that consumers have come to expect from companies like HTC and Samsung. They're very much playing for the low-end and mid-range of the market right now, so making a large investment in Motorola, even with its extensive hardware capabilities, would be a huge gamble. Not only that, but Huawei has been blocked from expanding in the US before due to fears that they have military links. Huawei tried to purchase 3Leaf systems back in February 2011, but was denied by a US security panel. A similar situation might occur if the company tried to buy the hardware side of Motorola.

[via Android Community]