Google’s $12.5B deal for Motorola Mobility shakes up the mobile market

The deal is by far the largest Google has pursued in its 13-year history.

Motorola Mobility’s price tag exceeds the combined $9.1 billion that the company has paid for 136 previous acquisitions since going public in 2004, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Buying Motorola also would push Google into phone and computer tablet manufacturing, competing with other device makers who rely on Android. So far, the largest makers of Android devices are all supporting the deal—but that could change as a major partner also becomes a mobile device competitor.

Google pounced on Motorola less than two months after a group including Apple and Microsoft paid $4.5 billion for 6,000 patents owned by Nortel, a bankrupt Canadian maker of telecommunications equipment.

“We believe this acquisition was solely driven by the ongoing patent war,” Sanford Bernstein analyst Pierre Ferragu wrote in a research note, referring to the Google deal.