Microsoft Must Respond to Google-Motorola Deal: 10 Things to Do Pronto

 
 
By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2011-08-18 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

News Analysis: Microsoft faces a serious competitive challenge from the Google-Motorola deal. But there are still a lot of countermeasures it can carry out to blunt the effect of this megamerger before and after it is approved. But it better get cracking.

With Google now planning to acquire Motorola Mobility in a deal valued at $12.5 billion in cash, several companies in the industry are being affected. Android vendors are wondering what the future will look like. Apple is waiting to see how it should respond, and Research In Motion is left to worry if it has the right solutions in place to take on a now-even-more-powerful Google.

But Microsoft is arguably the company that will be affected most by the deal. Microsoft, like Google, offers mobile operating systems to vendors that then pack those into their handsets. Now that Google will be able to control both hardware and software, the company is potentially in a much better position to continue to steal market share from Microsoft, as well as take down the iPhone.

Luckily for Microsoft, though, it can do some things to blunt the potential effects of the Motorola Mobility acquisition. Although these countermeasures will cost the software giant some serious cash, it has no choice but to respond-and quickly.

Here are the ideas:

1. Buy RIM

It has been rumored for months now, but Microsoft must finally pull the trigger and acquire RIM. Sure, the deal might cost the company billions and it will face regulatory scrutiny, but it's the smart move. RIM is still an enterprise favorite, which will give Microsoft an advantage over Android-a platform that still only really appeals to consumers. Moreover, RIM's shareholders seem ready to make a deal since they're losing faith in their co-CEOs. The time has come for Microsoft to finally buy RIM.

2. Acquire patents

One of the key reasons Google acquired Motorola Mobility was its patent portfolio. The company has thousands of mobile patents that will help safeguard the search giant in court and potentially give it ammunition to go on the offensive. Microsoft, which already has a massive patent portfolio, should try its best to make some strategic acquisitions of more patents from other companies, such as Kodak and InterDigital. At this point, it appears the strongest patent holding will win the day in the mobile space.

3. Consider acquiring an Android vendor

Microsoft should also consider acquiring an Android handset maker. Whether that means it acquires the firm in addition to or instead of RIM is inconsequential. The fact is, Android handset makers aren't necessarily happy with Google right now, and it seems like a prime time for Microsoft to steal a vendor and bring it to its own side.

4. Stay true to Nokia

When Microsoft announced that it had inked a deal with Nokia to bring Windows Phone 7 to the handset maker's line of devices, some wondered why the software company didn't just acquire Nokia. Although industry observers are calling for such a move, Microsoft shouldn't do anything of the sort. Instead, Microsoft should simply continue on the same path with Nokia. The fact is, Nokia is a toxic company from an acquisition perspective, and Microsoft shouldn't want any part of it



 
 
 
 
Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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