Motorola Mobility building own mobile OS to free itself from dependence on Google Android

“Motorola Mobility has hired a number of experienced mobile and Web engineers from Apple and Adobe and is developing a Web-based mobile operating system as a possible alternative to Google’s Android software, according to a source familiar with the matter,” Thomas Claburn reports for InformationWeek. “Asked to comment, Motorola did not deny the existence of the project but re-affirmed its interest in Android. ‘Motorola Mobility is committed to Android as an operating system,’ a company spokesperson said via email.”

MacDailyNews Take: For now. Smart companies that hope to enjoy bright futures know they cannot become dependent on a third-party OS, especially a highly fragmented OS from a search engine company that’s facing tens of patent infringement actions.

Claburn continues, “Over the past nine months, Motorola has been hiring engineering talent that would well-suited to create a new mobile operating system. Its team appears to include a significant number of ex-Apple and Adobe personnel, including Gilles Drieu, VP of software engineering at Motorola Mobility… Drieu left Apple in March 2010, where he was the head of the company’s rich media and applications group. After a five month period without employment, he joined Motorola.”

“Motorola’s focus on a Web-centric operating system may reflect uncertainty about Android arising from Oracle’s patent claims against Google. But building a new mobile OS around Web technologies is also eminently practical: There are a lot of Web developers already and there’s a lot of support in terms of tools and frameworks. The fact that HP paid $1.2 billion for Palm and its webOS suggests there’s some value in leveraging Web standards,” Claburn reports. “There may also be more immediate reasons for Motorola to look beyond Android. ‘Google is shooting itself in the foot,’ said the person familiar with Motorola’s plans, citing what he sees as concerns about Android fragmentation, product differentiation, and issues related to Google’s support for its partners.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]


  1. Maybe they can take back Freescale and put their in-house OS on PowerPC. That would certainly put them in a unique “non-dependent” position. They already own “CodeWarrior” development tools too. 🙂

  2. This is a smart move by Motorola. No company wants to see the Windows stranglehold situation that Microsoft had on the industry for years ever happen again. Witness HP’s recent announcement that all their laptops will dual boot Windows and webOS.

    Who knows whether the Motorola mobile OS will ever see the light of day or be any good, but companies need to have choices.

    And to echo a previous comment, competition is not just good; it’s vital.

    1. Yet another “web interface”. Sounds so Win98-2000-… where they wanted to merge the idea of web browsers and file browsers. This “marriage” of paradigms has hampered the Windows GUI ever since.

  3. Just make sure Apple’s 200+ patents pending or already issued for iOS are a must read for all those experienced mobile and Web engineers that develop any mobile OS for Motorola.

  4. Well I wish those guys every success, though they have a mountain to climb to compete with Apples integrated package. The future of Android may sooner rather than later hang in the balance, so if they can pull this off and produce an attractive alternative to both Android and Microsoft they may well survive and prosper. Somehow they must pull the rabbit out of the hat as fast as they can.

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