Horace Dediu on Google’s acquisition of Motorola, and the unintended consequences that will come from what is now a classic channel conflict.

In short, when the supplier of a license is also a competitor of others who use that license, then the other competitors get uncomfortable.

HTC, Samsung, LG, Sony, and Motorlola all license Android for use in their handsets. Now, part of the competition (Motorola) is owned by the company that everyone licenses from (Google).

Fortunately for HTC, Samsung, LG, and Sony, Google promises that “Motorola will remain a licensee of Android and Android will remain open”, and that they “will run Motorola as a separate business.”

For one, I don’t think too many people believe that Google will leave Motorola as a separate business and solely use its patents as a defense against Microsoft and Apple. And secondly, if Google were to leave Motorola as a separate business then it would be a massively missed opportunity for Google.

The Perils of Licensing to Your Competitors