Motorola was Google's "insurance policy" against Samsung's Android dominance
Google bought Motorola Mobility to fend off its biggest Android vendor, according to reports
Google bought Motorola as an "insurance policy", to protect itself from Samsung's dominance of the Android platform, according to reports.
The popularity of handsets such as the Galaxy S III have given Samsung a 42% share of the Android smartphone market, according to figures from IDC. No other Android vendor has double-digit market share.
Samsung's stranglehold on the Android market set off warning bells at Google, which was worried that Samsung "could flex its muscle to renegotiate its arrangement and eat into Google's lucrative mobile-ad business," sources within Google told the Wall Street Journal.
Google was so concerned that the head of Android business, Andy Rubin, reportedly told employees that Google had bought Motorola Mobility "as a kind of insurance policy" against Samsung's dominance.
Google doesn't only rely on its own hardware arm to give Samsung competition in the Android market. It's also teamed up with a variety of manufacturers, including LG, Asus and indeed Samsung itself, to produce smartphones and tablets under the Nexus brand.
However, none have proved as successful as Samsung's Galaxy range of products, which has this week been bolstered further by the launch of the Galaxy Note 8 and the announcement of the Galaxy S4, which will be unveiled in New York next month.
With other mobile operating systems such as Firefox Mobile and Ubuntu beginning to emerge, and Microsoft keen to add manufacturers to the Windows Phone 8 stable, Google may not only fear Samsung's bargaining position, but also the prospect of other manufacturers deserting Android to differentiate themselves with a new OS.
Is Samsung growing too big for Android? Read next month's PC Pro to read the team's views in Talking Point