Google Acquisitions and Partnerships Lead the Way
While Google has remained constantly active, even within the relatively small confines of mobile telephony, over the past few years, 2011 has seen the company make a few truly major purchases. The largest move Google made was purchasing Motorola Mobility for a little over 12 billion dollars. The purchase is still pending regulatory approval, but at this point it looks like its a done deal. The move not only places one of the most popular Android device manufacturers under the Google umbrella, but also gives Google access to a number of important patents, the ammunition of choice in modern technology battles. On that same front, Google made two large patent purchases from IBM. Apple countered by teaming up with former arch-rival Microsoft (along with Sony and RIM) to purchase Nortel patents specifically to keep them out of Google’s hands.
When Google couldn’t buy something, it partnered with it instead. The largest of those partnerships was with Intel, as the chip maker and OS developer will work hand-in-hand going forward. The goal is to get the Android OS working smoothly with Intel’s oft-maligned Atom processor, along with future processors, thus reducing the development time for new Android devices.
By comparison, Apple has been strangely quiet since early in the year when they released the iPad 2. The Verizon launch of the iPhone was pretty much a non-event and rumors of a standard mid-summer iPhone 5 release proved false as the device release has been pushed back into October. While Google has been making headlines, the best Apple could do is team up with a former enemy to prevent Google from sweeping up the available patents on the market. The end result of this quiet period is the growing belief that the iPhone simply can’t catch up to a surging Android OS.