Less than three years ago Google acquired Motorola for $12.5 billion, now for $2.91 Lenovo is buying Motorola Mobility. When Google acquired Motorola we all thought that could have been a great deal, since the Google’s growing interest in mobile and Android. What we expected was an exceptional device made by the guys who are developing Android. On the other hand, Google has kept partnering with other mobile producers, such as LG, to distribute the Nexus devices, without using Motorola.
By looking at Larry Page’s statement, we can easily understand the big picture.
We acquired Motorola in 2012 to help supercharge the Android ecosystem by creating a stronger patent portfolio for Google and great smartphones for users. Over the past 19 months, Dennis Woodside and the Motorola team have done a tremendous job reinventing the company. They’ve focused on building a smaller number of great (and great value) smartphones that consumers love. Both the Moto G and the Moto X are doing really well, and I’m very excited about the smartphone lineup for 2014. And on the intellectual property side, Motorola’s patents have helped create a level playing field, which is good news for all Android’s users and partners.
Google bought Motorola just for the patents. They didn’t care about the company, the products they could have developed or the value in the employees. The only big asset that Motorola could give to Google was an enormous amount of software patents. That’s why Google didn’t sell the most majority of Motorola’s patents to Lenovo.
What we wonder now is if this is the way people should do business. Software patents are the worst thing the human being could have ever invented; and what it is even worse is that once you start with patents, you never end, because it’s a constant war based on nothing. People believe that patents are what help innovation and creativity, but it’s not like that.
Patents kill the ability to innovate on previous innovations and to add value to the things that surround us. Isaac Newton, the most famous physicist in the world once said:
If I have seen further, it’s only by standing on the shoulders of giants.”
How can we innovate or see further if the giants haven’t shared their innovations? I can understand patents for things that I can touch with my fingers and that are developed through “mechanics”, but software patents are putting a lock on algorithms, which on another point of view means math. How can we patent the way we write software or the shape of the like button?
Google spent almost $9 billion in patents. We are not saying they spent nine billion in innovation, a beautiful product, employees or charity; not we are saying they spent this large amount of money just to try to protect themselves from being sued from other companies.
What this sick system does is that it crates addiction to patent things. Once one individual has patented some kind of “software” or design, everyone is rushing to patent other things or to buy patents. There is nothing that can stop this system. The only way is to innovate without patenting things and believing that what we do is unique, because we are the real innovators.
The founder of The Nifty Mini Drive told us a couple of months ago that copycats where born as soon as he launched his product, but he didn’t care about using patents to protect his innovation. Why? Because he was The Nifty Mini Drive and the others were no one. Customers can easily understand between those who innovate and create beautiful things from those who copy just to try to make more money.