May 2012 – Google bought Motorola for $13 Billion
Oct 2014 – Google sold Motorola to Lenovo for $3 Billion.
Sep 2013 – Microsoft bought Nokia for $7.2 Billion.
Jun 2015 – Microsoft wrote off the Nokia acquisition.
So both these companies spent a lot of money on buying “patents” or “trying to get into hardware”.
So, what did they find out about hardware?
1. Are they software companies that dont “get” hardware?
2. Is hardware really that hard?
3. Will applying software distribution techniques, margins and marketing work?
4. Is hardware best left to partners who are better at building devices?
5. Why is Apple better at hardware and software but poor at services (remember iTunes Ping)?
6. Will Amazon (which took a big haircut on their hardware as well last quarter) also “give up” on hardware?
7. Why are PC hardware makers – DELL, HP, Lenovo – giving up their leadership on the phone to – Samsung, Xiaomi and HTC?
8. Do you need to have only one hit hardware product (iPhone) and still survive a string of poor also-rans (iPads, Apple TV).
9. Were patents held by Nokia and Motorola worth it?
10. Most analysts and industry observers called this years ago, but why did the CEO’s not see this coming – were their hands truly tied?