Will Moto Augment Android With Azingo?
Motorola co-CEO Sanjay Jha has made it clear on the company’s last few earnings call that it was counting on Android to revive its ailing handset business. At the same time, however, Jha said on Moto’s first-quarter earnings call that he thought owning your own OS was important, provided “you have an ecosystem, you have all the services, and you have an ability and the scale to execute on keeping that OS at the leading edge.” (See Moto Posts Profit, Plots Smartphone Recovery and Motorola Could Get the Tablet Habit.) While Moto has seen considerable success with the Verizon Wireless Droid, it is now up against Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)’s own Nexus One, turning its savior into a competitor. As such, Motorola, the largest maker of Android phones in the US, appears to be looking to regain some of its independence from Google’s OS.
Startup Azingo introduced its Linux mobile platform in February. The OS uses Web run-time protocols for widgets, suggesting that Moto could be acquiring both an OS and an app store of its own.
After it dropped Symbian in late 2008, Motorola reiterated its commitment to mobile Linux. (See Moto Not Dropping LiMo Linux.) But, its subsequent Linux-based handsets, including the ROKR, have had little impact on the market, and Moto has since left the board of the Linux Mobile Foundation.
Azingo might be more of a complement to Android than a replacement, given that Motorola has always supported more than one OS. It could also be a way for Moto to strengthen its social networking-inspired MotoBlur user experience that runs on top of Android on many of its handsets. Or Azingo could help Moto strengthen its presence in developing markets like China and India that require cheaper mobile phones.
Motorola would not confirm the acquisition, which is rumored to have closed last month.
— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile