Will Google and Motorola ‘venture’ together?

Aug 17, 2011

The fate of Motorola Mobility's investment arm remains unclear.

There's a lot we still don't know about how Google (goog) will integrate Motorola Mobility (mmi), which the search giant recently agreed to buy for $12.5 billion. Not only whether or not Google will hold onto its hardware business, but even its management structure. As the Wall Street Journal's Dennis Berman tweeted:

On a smaller scale, that uncertainty also extends to Motorola Mobility's venture capital group. The unit -- created when Motorola split this past January -- currently has five staffers and a portfolio of 18 companies. Recent deals include Catch Media, provider of a licensed digital rights locker platform, and Moblyng, a publisher of cross-platform, HTML5-based games for mobile devices and social networks.

According to its website, Motorola Mobility Ventures invests in early-stage companies that have strategic synergies with the parent company. In other words, it seems more interested in what a company does than the company's potential return on investment.

Google Ventures, on the other hand, is explicit in saying that it invests for financial return. Does that mean MMV will alter its strategy? Or will the two groups remain separate? Or will MMV just cease to exist.

Unfortunately, right now those are questions without answers. At least not public answers. Bill Maris of Google Ventures declined to comment, as did an MMI spokeswoman.

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