Google officially completed its $12.5 billion purchase of Motorola Mobility on Tuesday. It’s an eureka moment for the company, marking both its biggest acquisition ever and Google’s transition from a search-and-software company to a consumer gadgets maker.
Google named Dennis Woodside, who previously served as president of Google’s Americas region and oversaw the integration planning, as CEO of Motorola Mobility (MMI, Fortune 500). Sanjay Jha, the Motorola Mobility CEO who architected the Google takeover, is stepping down.
“Our aim is simple,” Woodside said in a prepared statement. “To focus Motorola Mobility’s remarkable talent on fewer, bigger bets, and create wonderful devices that are used by people around the world.”
First announced in August 2011, the deal passed regulatory muster from both U.S. and European antitrust commissions despite concerns that the combined company might unfairly withhold patent licenses from its competitors.
Buying Motorola gives Google (GOOG, Fortune 500) access to more than 17,000 patents, plus an extra 7,500 that are awaiting approval. The search giant said it plans to use those patents to ward off lawsuits from Apple (AAPL, Fortune 500) and Microsoft (MSFT, Fortune 500) that threaten Google’s popular Android mobile operating system.
But some industry experts believe that Google is after much more than a patent mine. It’s now playing in Apple territory. Buying Motorola gives Google the ability to control both hardware and software, by making its own integrated smartphones and other devices.