(WIRED) -- The best-case scenario for consumers if the proposed Google-Motorola deal goes through might be that cable TV gets a whole lot better.
Earlier, we touched on Motorola's sizable patent portfolio and its position as a leading maker of TV set-top boxes. Now, let's put the two together, add Google TV's promising software interface and utter failure of its hardware, and cook up a brand new go-to-market strategy for Google TV.
Steve Jobs (who knows a thing or two about a thing or two) laid this problem out very clearly a year ago, explaining why Google TV would fail and why Apple TV is still just "a hobby":
"The problem with innovation in the television industry is the go-to-market strategy.
The television industry has a subsidized model that gives everyone a set-top box for free, or for $10 per month. That pretty much squashes any opportunity for innovation, because nobody's willing to buy a set top box. Ask TiVo, ask Roku, ask us.
Ask Google in a few months.
The only way that's ever going to change is if you can really go back to square one, tear up the set top box, redesign it from scratch with a consistent UI across all these different functions, and get it to consumers in a way that they're willing to pay for it. And right now there's no way to do that.
The TV is going to lose until there's a viable -- go to market strategy. Otherwise you're just making another TiVo.
It's not a problem with technology, not a problem with vision, it's a fundamental go to market problem... And then it not like there's a GSM standard where you build a phone for the US and it also works in all these other countries.
No, every single country has different standards, different government approvals, it's very... Tower of Babelish. It's very balkanized.
I'm sure smarter people than us will figure this out, but that's why when we say Apple TV a hobby; that's why we use that phrase."
With Motorola, Google now has a way into the living room that not only solves this go-to-market problem, but solves it in a way that's quintessentially Google: consumers get the box for free, they pay the cable and satellite companies for the content, and Google makes its money on the back end.
Now Google doesn't have to make all-new deals with content owners or cable providers; it can leverage Motorola's existing relationships. It doesn't have to convince consumers to buy a smart TV or smart Blu-Ray player or anything else. All it has to get them to do is use a new box or, like TiVo, put a new card in the box that's already attached to their television set.
"There is great convergence between the mobile world and content that comes to the home through set-top boxes," Motorola Mobility CEO Sanjay Jha said on a call announcing the acquisition. "Working with the carriers, we'll be able to accelerate that convergence which will excite customers."
Cable customers could use some excitement. Motorola never made great software, and cable companies for the most part make terrible software. TiVo and Apple both make good software, but couldn't get over that problem of buying another box.
Google makes very good software, and will soon be making set-top boxes too. And since Motorola holds at least a few patents on DVR technology, they can't be ignored.
At GigaOM, Ryan Lawler and Ryan Kim point out that cable companies could still freeze Google out and keep their stranglehold on TV. But if you're placing bets on who will be the first to truly open up internet TV, the smart money now has to be on Google.
Motorola Mobility Holdings, the company being acquired by Google, does include the cable box, DVR, cable modem and IPTV divisions of Motorola. You can verify this here.
Google's Larry Page and Motorola Mobility's Sanjay Jha also both mentioned television and set-top boxes as a prime area of future development for Google and Motorola. Motorola Solutions, which was spun off in January, doesn't sell consumer products. Motorola Mobility does.
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