Monday, August 15, 2011 at 11:01 am.

10 questions about Google’s Motorola deal

  1. Can it actually work? This is Google’s biggest deal ever, by far, and it’s adding 19,000 employees to the mix. Google is expanding way beyond its core business into areas where Larry Page has no experience — and he could be a torturous leader when he realizes the realities of the hardware industry. There are many good reasons why this could be an amazing combination, but also many why this could be a disaster. (More commentary on this subject from Henry Blodget.)
  2. Will the Feds let it happen? Google gets as many deals approved as anyone, and sounds confident that this one will pass, too. But this is another opportunity for the government to poke around, take its time, and potentially wrestle some concessions out of Google.
  3. Will Google finally make some bold, interesting moves in mobile? To be honest, Android has been pretty boring so far. No dramatic new business models. No ad subsidy experiments, an area where Google is behind Amazon. The Nexus One experiment was a poorly planned, poorly executed flop. Now that Google will be in charge of hardware, software, and marketing for Motorola devices, can it finally do something cool and new?
  4. What happens to the Oracle patent problem? Google now has ammo against other mobile companies like Nokia, Apple, RIM, and Microsoft. But Oracle is clearly in this for the money and the destruction, not because it’s getting into the mobile phone business. Does Google offer its partners any real protection there?
  5. Will Google buy a carrier next? You know, once the Motorola stuff is approved and humming. Then it could really control everything. (Or maybe Google might try a virtual carrier, wholesaling from one of the 4G network companies?)
  6. Impact on mobile payments? Google is trying to lead here on the back end, with a big partnership with Mastercard. It’s now in a much stronger position to seed the phone market with NFC chips. (See: Mobile payments are a mess.)
  7. Google+ integration? Obviously this is an opportunity to make Google’s social layer a big part of the mobile experience — an area where it could differentiate from Apple, which seems to be betting on Twitter right now. What will this look like? (And, does this spell the end for Motoblur, Motorola’s lame “social” software?)
  8. Will Google get into the retail business? It will, all of a sudden, have hardware to show off. This seems like a stretch, but it has really helped Apple. And a Google store could be really cool.
  9. How will Facebook, Amazon, and Microsoft respond? Microsoft may feel pressured to buy Nokia now. Facebook and Amazon are the ones to watch over the next year when it comes to new platforms. Will they change their approach at all?
  10. Do Google’s Android partners like HTC and Samsung really support the move? Or was it just for the sake of PR? Will they bail for Windows Phone, or work faster to design their own platforms? The patent protection is nice, but…

Related: Google-Motorola: Winners and losers and Hey, cable companies: Now is the time to embrace Google TV and the new Motorola