Google + Motorola Spells Intrigue for Cable

Sep 08 2011

It’s not all about the cell phones. Watch your TV change next year. Over the past few weeks, Google’s announced purchase of Motorola Mobility turned a lot of heads and got bloggers going about what it means for the original cell phone manufacturer to sell out to the information giant. But what’s even more interesting is what it could mean for the cable industry as Google acquires Motorola’s massive cable modem business.

Cable operators are understandably concerned about their role in consumer households, and obviously with their share of the revenue associated with TV viewing. A key focus of discussion in each of this year’s events by the NCTA, the ACA, and NCTC has been how to assert control of that customer relationship as over-the-top platforms like Netflix, YouTube, Hulu and even programmers’ own Web sites steal viewership from traditional cable TV.

For a while now, Google has been working on the Google TV, a physical device that leverages the power of the internet to deliver a more connected experience to TV users. Apple has improved its own play in that area now with the cloud-enabled AppleTV, so it only makes sense that Apple’s chief rival for consumer-lifestyle-media will expand its own play.

Don’t get me wrong–- Google’s Android platform is far more powerful with the acquisition of Motorola’s handset business. But with the additional assets, technology and patent library of Motorola’s cable business, the likelihood of a powerful new breed of TVs bringing Google into the living room becomes almost certain. Stay tuned.