Google TV May Benefit From Google-Motorola Merger
Google's acquisition of Motorola Mobility will give it set-top boxes it could parlay into better products for Google TV. That's assuming Google keeps those hardware assets.Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) $12.5 billion purchase offer for Motorola Mobility (NYSE:MMI) is regarded by most industry watchers as a bid to secure patent protection, but one of the ancillary benefits is an opportunity to fortify the search engine's Web television service. Unlike the new Google+ social network the company appears to have poured its heart and soul into, Google TV is struggling to gain significant traction. The service uses Android software and the Chrome Web browser to let users surf TV channels and Websites and access Web applications in the same context.
Google TV is integrated in TVs and Blu-ray players from Sony, as well as in the Logitech Revue companion boxes. However, those boxes are failing to sell at a healthy clip, and Logitech discounted them to $99, or one-third of what they cost at launch last fall.
"Google TV today answers a question that few consumers seem to be asking. The bigger challenge may actually be getting this to consumers. Even if Google can come up with a compelling consumer value proposition, it may not be able to get it into the living room. The set-top box customer is not the consumer but the MSO. Cable companies have not always been looking to add OTT (over the top) options to the hardware that they buy and rent to their subscribers. Google will also have to provide a separate value proposition to MSOs that compels them to order Google TV enhanced set-top boxes rather than regular ones."Indeed, just because Google will have the assets doesn't mean it will manage them within the realm of our expectations. Certainly no one saw it bidding to buy one of its top Android OEM partners. Google could just as easily sell off Motorola's phone and STB businesses and simply keep the patents. Like so many other things with the Google-Motorola merger, including the question of whether or not federal regulators will pass it, the deal is up in the air.