Less than two years after acquiring it for more than $12 billion, Google is selling off Motorola at a considerable loss to Lenovo for just over $2.91 billion. Google will, however, still retain ownership over a large majority of Motorola's patents—about 15,000 of the 17,000—which were the main reason for the phone maker's initial acquisition in the first place.
In a prepared statement, Google CEO Larry Page said, " "This move will enable Google to devote our energy to driving innovation across the Android ecosystem, for the benefit of smartphone users everywhere." In other words, the company is focusing on earning revenue from their software, Android, rather than from hardware sales.
Google did reaffirm its commitment to other hardware efforts, including its Glass headsets and the home appliances of recently-acquired Nest. Motorola's sale to Lenovo will also reportedly not include Moto's Advanced Technology and Projects group—a more experimental division—which will instead be integrated with the Android team.
The quick turnaround comes also comes as the acquired patents haven't really pulled their weight in the increasing litigation between smartphone makers. According to Recode:
Instead, [the patents have] brought the company regulatory scrutiny, and some embarrassing courtroom losses, with a jury in at least one landmark cases finding it in breach of its industry obligation to license some of the patents on FRAND (fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory) terms.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.