UPDATED

Still digesting the Google buyout of Motorola Mobility, but this much seems reasonable:

-- Google wants to be more like Apple, owning an entire ecosystem around Android. Google has done, on balance, a brilliant job with Android. But only Apple is Apple.

-- Google's claim that Moto will kept at arm's length regarding Android -- that this will not affect its relations with other handset makers -- is a fantasy. We've just learned that the most important hardware company for Android is the one Google will own.

-- The upside for Android users is that the balkanization of Android, which Google was already trying to address, may lessen. Google/Moto will presumably sell a set of phones that gives customers more freedom in how they operate their own devices.

-- Samsung and HTC must be absolutely furious, and they should be. They have been, with Moto, by far the most ardent supporters of Android. They can no longer trust Google. So call me highly skeptical of the pious "this is great news" statements from these companies.

-- Microsoft must be ecstatic. This gives the Windows mobile platform a new lease on life. Microsoft could now position it as the only major OS that is platform-agnostic (unless, as a commenter notes, Microsoft buys Nokia).

-- Larry Page said this move was in part about patents. But Google didn't need to buy the entire company to get more protection in the patent-extortion game that now prevails in the technology business. It could have just bought part-ownership in the patents.

-- Cory Bergman makes an interesting case that this is also a major TV play. I've been using Google TV (the now-discounted Logitech Revue) and find it pretty good. If Google TV becomes part of set-top boxes it could be an interesting combination. However, the cable and satellite companies will have a lot to say about this, and they consider Google a scary competitor, not a partner. Cory's story: http://www.lostremote.com/2011/08/15/why-googles-motorola-acquisition-is-a-huge-tv-play/
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