Each week Ross Rubin contributes Switched On, a column about consumer technology.
Tech company acquisitions often seek to reshape a company or even the entire industry. Buying Applied Semantics catalyzed Google's rise to online advertising dominance. Apple's purchase of NeXT transformed the former's operating system's roadmap. And HP's merger with Compaq created a $40 billion powerhouse vendor of Windows PCs.
That's not the case for "Googorola
," a portmanteau that the world formerly knew only as an Italian blue cheese often crumbled into steak salads. Indeed, Google's recent announcement of its intent to acquire Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion may turn out to be the highest profile acquisition ever aimed at maintaining the status quo. Presaged by a blog post from Google's chief legal officer and punctuated by lockstep statements by Motorola's rival Android licensees praising legal protection, the blog post announcing the acquisition promised to "supercharge" Android. But the subsequent Google conference call regarding the merger reinforced that the "IP" Google seeks to acquire does not stand for "Incredible Phones." Google seeks to invigorate Android simply by having the freedom to progress unencumbered along the successful path it already has largely staked out.