Google's Motorola acquisition, Steve Jobs stepping down from Apple and Hewlett-Packard's strategic shift are making for a crazy August in tech.
typically regarded as one of the slower months, at least when it comes to tech
August? Not so much.
with Google's announced intent to acquire Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion,
a move that (if approved) will fundamentally alter the smartphone game.
explained how companies, including Microsoft and Apple, are banding together in
anti-competitive patent attacks on Android," Google CEO Larry Page wrote in an Aug. 15 corporate blog posting
, soon after
news of the intended acquisition became public. "Our acquisition of Motorola
will increase competition by strengthening Google's patent portfolio, which
will enable us to better protect Android from anti-competitive threats from
Microsoft, Apple and other companies."
is whether the acquisition will disturb other device manufacturers enough to
sway them away from Android. Microsoft certainly hopes so, with company
executives raising the specter of Motorola Mobility as Google's favored
child-while promoting the idea of Windows Phone as an equal-opportunity
software platform. "Investing in a broad and truly open mobile ecosystem is
important for the industry and consumers alike," Andy Lees, president of
Microsoft's Windows Phone division, wrote in a statement soon after Google
announced its news, "and Windows Phone is now the only platform that does so
with equal opportunity for all partners."
could also drive competitors into buying frenzies of their own. "RIM suddenly
becomes very valuable for its patent horde," Ray Wang, principal analyst and
CEO of Constellation Research, wrote in an Aug. 15 email to eWEEK.
"HP, Apple or Microsoft should
quickly move to buy RIM for its patents and also [BlackBerry Enterprise
Server], the crown jewel."
If that wasn't
enough excitement for the tech community, Hewlett-Packard then decided to
announce it was changing course, with plans to shed its PC manufacturing arm on
the way to becoming an enterprise-focused software and services company in the
mold of IBM.
As part of
that shift, two of HP's most prominent recent projects-its TouchPad tablet and
nascent smartphone franchise-would need to die.
that it plans to announce that it will discontinue operations for webOS
devices, specifically the TouchPad [tablet] and webOS phones," read the August 18 statement
released by the company
ahead of its most recent earnings call. "HP will continue to explore options to
optimize the value of webOS software going forward."
saw HP's move away from PCs as indicative of a larger trend within the
abdicated playing a role in the mobility revolution except from the
air-conditioned comfort of the cloud data center. This move makes Google's
acquisition of Motorola look prescient," Yankee Group analyst Carl Howe wrote
in an Aug. 19 research note. "We are witnessing the final collapse of the
Silicon Valley PC era."
As with IBM
when it executed a similar transition, the hurdles facing HP are immense. "HP
is reforming as much more of a broad software company more like
Microsoft/Oracle than even IBM," Rob Enderle, principal analyst of the Enderle
Group, wrote in an Aug. 18 email to eWEEK.
"In effect, they are repeating what IBM did with Palmisano and what Apple did
with Jobs in that the new HP will be optimized for their new CEO."
But HP will have
to bulk up its software and services muscle in the face of what will surely be
aggressive countermoves from the likes of Oracle and IBM.
fates didn't think that Google and Hewlett-Packard made August enough of a roller
coaster, so they threw in a third major event: Apple CEO Steve Jobs resigning
In a letter to
Apple's board of directors and employees, Jobs suggested he could "no longer
meet my duties and expectations as Apple's CEO." He asked the board to activate
a prearranged succession plan and name Tim Cook as CEO-a familiar role for the
latter, considering he's stepped in as interim chief whenever Jobs'
longstanding health issues drove him to take medical leave.
At this early
stage, analysts generally seem to think that Apple will more than survive its
co-founder handing off the reins to Cook.
been run by a team of very accomplished visionaries that includes Tim Cook,
Phil Schiller, Jonathan Ive, Scott Forestal, Ron Johnson and a host of others,"
Carl Howe, an analyst with the Yankee Group, wrote in an Aug. 25 blog posting
. "Steve was [the] public
face of the company, but we shouldn't think that he was the only one making all
is widely expected to release its next-generation iPhone (widely dubbed the
"iPhone 5" by the media) in either September or October, following that with
the next iPad sometime in early 2012.
With an August
this busy, people in tech might need September to recuperate.
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