Google's never said much about what it plans to do with Motorola Mobility's struggling cable box division after it completes its acquisition of the company, and now we may know why: the New York Post reports this morning that Google's preparing to sell the unit. According to the Post, Google's retained Qatalyst Partners and Barclays Capital to prepare for a sale, and there are glimmers of interest from investors who may want to buy both Motorola's cable box division and Scientific Atlanta, which Cisco is also reportedly shopping.
What's curious is that Google's made a lot of noise about moving further into the home lately: Andy Rubin told us he's working on cloud-based home automation, we've heard a lot about Google-branded consumer devices, and the company just launched its new Google Play unified content stores. Having an established presence in the living room would appear to be a huge advantage as Apple and Microsoft bulk up their own entertainment offerings, but Google isn't exactly well-liked in the content industry, and the Post says that cable operators have "shunned" Motorola boxes in the lead-up to Google's buyout.
The potential sale also calls into question Google's plan for Motorola in general. Andy Rubin was emphatic in saying that there would be a "firewall" between Motorola and the Android group, but it would seem Google's leadership is still comfortable making major decisions about the company's direction — a comfort level that's sure to rise after Motorola CEO Sanjay Jha is replaced with Google SVP Dennis Woodside. We'll see how long Motorola lasts in its current form; we get the feeling some big changes are in store.