Thursday, February 5, 2009

Motorola Picks Android Over Windows—-At Least For Now

Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) probably already knew this, but Motorola’s CEO Sanjay Jha let the cat out of the bag for the rest of us today when he said that the struggling handset maker will focus this year on Google’s Android operating system, while it waits for Windows Mobile 7 to come out in 2010. When answering questions during the company’s Q4 conference call today, he said: “Yes, we are still committed to Windows Mobile. As you know, Windows 6 series is available in 2009 and as compared to Android, we believe in 2009 Android is more competitive; more of our effort and focus in 2009 is going to Android, but in 2010 when Windows 7 will become available, we will then participate in a more focused way in Windows Mobile 7 in 2010.” (See Seeking Alpha transcript).

The update isn’t astonishing given that Motorola (NYSE: MOT) had recently trimmed its Windows Mobile workforce and made other changes, but from Microsoft’s perspective, here’s the problem with that plan. It needs more, not fewer, commitments, especially if it continues to focus on a licensing model, rather than making its own hardware. And, if Motorola is successful at focusing on the Google (NSDQ: GOOG) Android operating system (and “if” is the critical factor), then why would Motorola shift gears in 2010 to work more closely on Microsoft’s new mobile operating system? Perhaps, this isn’t a huge threat. As Silicon Alley Insider reminds us, the Android platform still has some major hurdles to clear: like getting U.S. carriers AT&T (NYSE: T) and Verizon Wireless (NYSE: VZ) to sell it.


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