Google building 'firewall' between Android and Motorola after acquisition

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Google's Andy Rubin led the charge to acquire Motorola, but the Android boss won't have anything to do with the company once the deal closes — he told reporters at Mobile World Congress today that he "sponsored" the acquisition but now has "nothing to do with it.... I don't even know who's running it." Questions about Motorola's future are starting to heat up now that the EU and US have approved the deal, which is expected to close soon, and Google's move to replace Motorola CEO Sanjay Jha with its head of ad sales Dennis Woodside has raised a few eyebrows. Rubin said he was "painfully aware" of concerns, but stressed that Google has "literally built a firewall" between the Android team and Motorola. "I don't even know anything about their products, I haven't seen anything," he said. "They're going to continue building Motorola branded devices and it's going to be the same team doing it."

Asked if other OEMs would be disfavored once Motorola's team comes in-house, Rubin also said that the open source nature of the platform makes it "physically difficult for me to advantage somebody," although manufacturers selected to build Google's Nexus devices do receive early access to future versions of Android. Rubin also demurred when asked if Motorola would still ship phones with custom skins and older versions of Android, saying it was up to Motorola's team. "They're separate from me, and I'm going to continue to do my thing."

More directly, Rubin also said the simple mathematics of Motorola's single-digit marketshare would keep Google from overly interfering. "Even if I was completely insane, it wouldn't make any sense for me to think that we could get Motorola to be 90-plus percent marketshare," given the huge field of Android vendors, he said. "It just isn't gonna happen."

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