Motorola Mobility has an event scheduled in New York on Wednesday. It’s not known exactly what will be announced, though there’s a good chance it will be a new phone or a new tablet computer running Google’s Android operating system. It would be the first Motorola product announcement since Google bought the company for $12.4 billion in May.
Here are some key developments in Google’s acquisition of the struggling cellphone pioneer. Though it’s a pioneer in the cellphone industry, Motorola hasn’t had a hit since the Razr phone came out in 2004.
Aug. 15, 2011: Google announces plans to spend $12.5 billion to buy Motorola Mobility. Google Inc. would get Motorola’s lineup of cellphones, tablet computers and cable set-top boxes. More important, Google would get Motorola’s more than 17,000 patents — a crucial weapon in an intellectual arms race with Apple, Microsoft and others to gain more control over the increasingly lucrative market for mobile devices.
Sept. 13: In a regulatory filing, Google reveals that the $12.5 billion purchase price is 33 percent more than Google initially offered. If the deal falls through, Google would still have to pay Motorola Mobility $2.5 billion.
Oct. 27: Motorola Mobility reports smaller net loss in the July-September quarter as phone shipments rises by more than 25 percent from a year earlier.
Nov. 17: Motorola Mobility says its shareholders have overwhelmingly voted to accept the proposed sale.
Jan. 26, 2012: Motorola Mobility issues disappointing results for the last three months of the year. It reports a loss, mirroring preliminary numbers issued three weeks earlier, amid fierce competition in the markets for smartphones and tablet computers. Some analysts have already been worried that Motorola Mobility could drag down Google’s earnings growth.
Feb. 13: European antitrust regulators clear the deal. Although regulators say they didn’t find a reason to believe that the transaction would pose any competitive problems, they raise concerns about Motorola’s aggressive enforcement of its patents. Hours later, the U.S. Department of Justice also approves the deal.
Feb. 22: Microsoft lodges a formal complaint with the European Union’s competition regulator accusing Motorola Mobility of breaking competition rules with its aggressive enforcement of patent rights against rivals. The complaint also names Google, which Microsoft fears will continue Motorola Mobility’s tight hold on key patents. It follows a similar complaint from Apple.
April 3: The European Commission agrees to investigate whether Motorola is unfairly restricting competitors from licensing essential patents. Motorola holds patents that are essential for standards linked to 2G and 3G wireless technology — the focus of Apple’s complaint — as well as Wi-Fi connections and compressing video for online use, which are at the heart of Microsoft’s complaint.
May 1: Motorola reports a slightly larger net loss in the first quarter as expenses grew more than revenue.
May 19: Authorities in China approve Google’s bid, though they require Google to make its Android operating system for mobile devices available to all at no cost for the next five years. The condition is apparently in response to concerns that competition could be hurt if Google gives updated versions to Motorola and withholds them from others. Google doesn’t currently charge for Android, and it already had pledged to make Android available to all its mobile partners.
May 22: Google says it has completed the acquisition. With the purchase, Google expands beyond its roots in programming software to provide Internet search and other online services to manufacturing equipment for the first time. The expansion will test Google’s ability to keep its business partners, shareholders and employees happy. Dennis Woodside, president of Google’s Americas region, replaces Sanjay Jha as Motorola’s CEO.
July 24: Google discloses that the final purchase price was $12.4 billion, not including about $400 million in unvested Motorola stock options and restricted shares. The company attributes $5.5 billion of that to “patents and developed technology.”
Aug. 13: Google says it is cutting about 4,000 jobs at Motorola Mobility and will close or consolidate about one-third of its 90 locations. The reductions represent about 20 percent of Motorola Mobility’s 20,000 employees, and 7 percent of Google’s overall work force. Two-third of the job cuts will take place outside of the U.S.