Motorola is not Google and now you see why it matters

Motorola is NOT Google

Since Google bought Motorola (the deal was officially finalized in May of 2012), we all have been waiting for Google's first smartphone. What you don't realize is that we are still waiting for it. The Moto X is not a Google phone. It's Motorola's next flagship. It has to do with Motorola and how Google doesn't really run them.

You see, Motorola is a company outside of Google. Google controls their primary revenue streams, patent portfolio, CEO, and other stuff, but their day to day operations are managed by Motorola. Their employees are Motorola employees. Their phone engineers do not work with the Android team in Mountain View. In effect, Motorola is not Google. The "a Google company" is almost reminding you that Google owns them - and they need to remind you, because you won't find it in their products.

Their products are created by Motorola. The same people (albeit less of them than before, because Google trimmed a ton of bloat) designed the Motorola RAZR M. Maybe those guys and girls are really talented but they are not Google employees (their checks come from Motorola and their shirts say Motorola). The Google employees could opt to become Motorola employees (and apparently 70 people participated in a program to swap sides, but Google declined to comment in which direction). Why would there need to be an employ swap program? Because the companies are separate.

As Andy Rubin said, there is a "firewall" between the two companies - something that was reiterated today. Why is it there? Because China wanted it. China is 90% Android and they were afraid of what would happen if Google were allowed to produce their own hardware and software. Could Google use their market position in China in a monopolistic fashion? That's why Google had to install this "firewall". In effect, Google has a vested interest in staying out of Motorola's business. It's called China.

The next minor oddity is the Moto X Google Edition. How is a Google company not producing a Google Edition, by default? Because Motorola is not Google. It's really that simple. Motorola is still the company that has to make Droids for Verizon and Google is still the company that makes Android and doesn't care about making Verizon happy. (see Nexus 7 with Verizon LTE support but no CDMA and the Verizon Galaxy Nexus and the Verizon Nexus 4... oh.)

The Motorola X is a Motorola product intended for the same people that Motorola has always been targeting and the Droid line is called hedging your bets. It's not clear if Google really cares what Motorola does. Their main interest were patents and after today it's perfectly clear that Motorola is still Motorola, even if Google is working on improving them. Motorola is the same company that made the RAZR (one of the best selling phones all time) and the Droid RAZR (not one of the best selling phones of all time).

Where is Google improving Motorola? Their supply line. Google is slowly forcing Motorola to own their supply line. The Motorola X8 is the first step in the direction. Motorola already produces portions of it's own SoC and now Google has added another. The more Motorola can control, the better their products will become. However, it's up to Motorola to use their better supply chain to turn out phones worth buying. Google is just worried about their bottom line and not Motorola's products.

Google and Motorola are married; Motorola is not Google's right arm, so to speak.