Chinese whispers point to Huawei bid for Motorola

Google could take the patents and run


Huawei remained tight lipped today on rumours that the Chinese handset giant is set to sign a deal for ailing mobile biz Motorola just eight months after Google splashed $12.5bn on acquiring the firm.

The Chinese telecoms equipment maker, which has ambitious growth plans for its global handset business, told The Reg it had no comment on the rumour, although analysts have said a deal could make sense for both parties.

A Wall Street Journal article citing unconfirmed, swirling rumours from Asia makes the case that Google hasn’t really known what to do with the mobile phone maker since it made the biggest acquisition in its history last summer.

With the deal having finally been given the green light by regulators in the US and Europe, there’s been little noise from the Chocolate Factory, aside from the briefest of mentions in an open letter to investors by CEO Larry Page last week:

We are excited about the opportunities to build great devices capitalising on the tremendous success and growth of Android and Motorola’s long history of technological innovation. But it’s important to reiterate that openness and investment by many hardware partners have contributed to Android’s success. So we look forward to working with all of them in the future to deliver outstanding user experiences. Android was built as an open ecosystem, and we have no plans to change that.

In this paragraph is perfectly encapsulated the problem facing Google.

On the one hand it is attracted by an Apple-lite model which would see it control more of the Android ecosystem – software, hardware and services – but on the other it can’t afford to anger partners such as Samsung and HTC which have helped catapult Android to become the world’s most popular smartphone OS.

The WSJ article makes the point that Google can’t realistically do both unless the companies operate completely separately, and it certainly can’t afford to displease its Android partners who allow Google services to be pre-loaded onto hundreds of thousands of handsets every day.

Having acquired the 17,000-odd Motorola patents which commentators have claimed was Google’s primary reason for buying the firm, the web giant could conceivably look to walk away if made the right offer, although it’s a pretty murky picture at present, according to IDC analyst Melissa Chau.

“It could go either way and it’s just not clear whether it wants to get rid or keep Motorola,” she told The Reg.

“Google doesn’t have a hardware background so it’s unclear what it wants to do with it.”

Google's reluctance to release more information on product roadmaps could also be a ploy to keep onside with its Android partners, however, she added.

On the other side, Huawei could stand to gain by acquiring a handset manufacturer to help boost its own brand value in non-Chinese markets, said Chau.

“Huawei has not seen the growth it needs from other places and it needs to focus on Europe and the US, but operators tend to mask the Huawei brand because there is still a certain perception about Chinese brands in terms of quality and innovation,” she argued.

“Having the Motorola brand could help them in this … I could imagine either co-branded phones or ‘powered by Huawei’ devices.” ®

Broader topics


Other stories you might like

  • Lonestar plans to put datacenters in the Moon's lava tubes
    How? Founder tells The Register 'Robots… lots of robots'

    Imagine a future where racks of computer servers hum quietly in darkness below the surface of the Moon.

    Here is where some of the most important data is stored, to be left untouched for as long as can be. The idea sounds like something from science-fiction, but one startup that recently emerged from stealth is trying to turn it into a reality. Lonestar Data Holdings has a unique mission unlike any other cloud provider: to build datacenters on the Moon backing up the world's data.

    "It's inconceivable to me that we are keeping our most precious assets, our knowledge and our data, on Earth, where we're setting off bombs and burning things," Christopher Stott, founder and CEO of Lonestar, told The Register. "We need to put our assets in place off our planet, where we can keep it safe."

    Continue reading
  • Conti: Russian-backed rulers of Costa Rican hacktocracy?
    Also, Chinese IT admin jailed for deleting database, and the NSA promises no more backdoors

    In brief The notorious Russian-aligned Conti ransomware gang has upped the ante in its attack against Costa Rica, threatening to overthrow the government if it doesn't pay a $20 million ransom. 

    Costa Rican president Rodrigo Chaves said that the country is effectively at war with the gang, who in April infiltrated the government's computer systems, gaining a foothold in 27 agencies at various government levels. The US State Department has offered a $15 million reward leading to the capture of Conti's leaders, who it said have made more than $150 million from 1,000+ victims.

    Conti claimed this week that it has insiders in the Costa Rican government, the AP reported, warning that "We are determined to overthrow the government by means of a cyber attack, we have already shown you all the strength and power, you have introduced an emergency." 

    Continue reading
  • China-linked Twisted Panda caught spying on Russian defense R&D
    Because Beijing isn't above covert ops to accomplish its five-year goals

    Chinese cyberspies targeted two Russian defense institutes and possibly another research facility in Belarus, according to Check Point Research.

    The new campaign, dubbed Twisted Panda, is part of a larger, state-sponsored espionage operation that has been ongoing for several months, if not nearly a year, according to the security shop.

    In a technical analysis, the researchers detail the various malicious stages and payloads of the campaign that used sanctions-related phishing emails to attack Russian entities, which are part of the state-owned defense conglomerate Rostec Corporation.

    Continue reading
  • FTC signals crackdown on ed-tech harvesting kid's data
    Trade watchdog, and President, reminds that COPPA can ban ya

    The US Federal Trade Commission on Thursday said it intends to take action against educational technology companies that unlawfully collect data from children using online educational services.

    In a policy statement, the agency said, "Children should not have to needlessly hand over their data and forfeit their privacy in order to do their schoolwork or participate in remote learning, especially given the wide and increasing adoption of ed tech tools."

    The agency says it will scrutinize educational service providers to ensure that they are meeting their legal obligations under COPPA, the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act.

    Continue reading
  • Mysterious firm seeks to buy majority stake in Arm China
    Chinese joint venture's ousted CEO tries to hang on - who will get control?

    The saga surrounding Arm's joint venture in China just took another intriguing turn: a mysterious firm named Lotcap Group claims it has signed a letter of intent to buy a 51 percent stake in Arm China from existing investors in the country.

    In a Chinese-language press release posted Wednesday, Lotcap said it has formed a subsidiary, Lotcap Fund, to buy a majority stake in the joint venture. However, reporting by one newspaper suggested that the investment firm still needs the approval of one significant investor to gain 51 percent control of Arm China.

    The development comes a couple of weeks after Arm China said that its former CEO, Allen Wu, was refusing once again to step down from his position, despite the company's board voting in late April to replace Wu with two co-chief executives. SoftBank Group, which owns 49 percent of the Chinese venture, has been trying to unentangle Arm China from Wu as the Japanese tech investment giant plans for an initial public offering of the British parent company.

    Continue reading
  • SmartNICs power the cloud, are enterprise datacenters next?
    High pricing, lack of software make smartNICs a tough sell, despite offload potential

    SmartNICs have the potential to accelerate enterprise workloads, but don't expect to see them bring hyperscale-class efficiency to most datacenters anytime soon, ZK Research's Zeus Kerravala told The Register.

    SmartNICs are widely deployed in cloud and hyperscale datacenters as a means to offload input/output (I/O) intensive network, security, and storage operations from the CPU, freeing it up to run revenue generating tenant workloads. Some more advanced chips even offload the hypervisor to further separate the infrastructure management layer from the rest of the server.

    Despite relative success in the cloud and a flurry of innovation from the still-limited vendor SmartNIC ecosystem, including Mellanox (Nvidia), Intel, Marvell, and Xilinx (AMD), Kerravala argues that the use cases for enterprise datacenters are unlikely to resemble those of the major hyperscalers, at least in the near term.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022