Completing a nine-month journey through regulatory approvals on multiple continents, Google has closed its acquisition of Motorola Mobility today. The move comes just days after Google cleared the last major hurdle — approval in China, where Motorola has had a particularly strong presence for many years — and means that the Chicago-area phone maker will stop trading on the New York Stock Exchange effective immediately.
As reported in February, CEO Sanjay Jha has stepped down and will be replaced by Google’s Dennis Woodside. “One of his first jobs at Google was to put on his backpack and build our businesses across the Middle East, Africa, Eastern Europe and Russia,” Google chief Larry Page notes, though he’s most recently been in charge of growing revenue as president of the company’s Americas region. Woodside is bringing a bunch of outsiders into the business as part of the leadership transition: Regina Dugan, former DARPA director, Mark Randall of Amazon and Nokia, Google’s former VP of consumer marketing Gary Briggs, and Scott Sullivan — with stints at Visa and Nvidia under his belt — are all joining the business.
Motorola’s ultimate fate remains unclear. Amidst rumors of major layoffs, we still don’t know whether Google really intends to get into the notoriously brutal handset hardware business — and if it does, whether it’ll run Moto “at arm’s length” as it has suggested in the past. Stories as recently as last month had pegged Google talking to Chinese giant Huawei about selling off the handset division, evidence that the acquisition was purely a play to beef up Android’s patent portfolio.
Regardless of what happens, it’s worth noting that this doesn’t entirely end Motorola’s run as an independent company: Motorola Solutions, the other half of last year’s corporate split, soldiers on as a maker of industrial devices and network infrastructure equipment.