Does Google's Takeover Of Motorola Put 19,000 Jobs In Jeopardy?
Are you Google-worthy?
When the behemoth comes knocking faster than you can Google the company's mergers and acquisitions history, you may have every reason to be concerned over your job security.
After Google announced on Aug. 15 it would be acquiring Motorola Mobile for a total of $12.5 billion, or $40.00 per share, commentators heralded the move as one that could remake the entire digital landscape. Indeed, in its announcement of the move, Google said the following: "The acquisition of Motorola Mobility, a dedicated Android partner, will enable Google to supercharge the Android ecosystem and will enhance competition in mobile computing."
But the loftiness of such a prospect is of second concern to Motorola's 19,000 employees who are poised to be included in Google's largest takeover to date. In fact, as Business Insider reports, Google's largest acquisition before this week saw the company swallow up DoubleClick, a company with a staff at the time of roughly 10 percent the size of Motorola's. And to judge by that precedent, the minions of Motorola may have every reason to be on guard.
When Erik Schmidt, Google CEO at that time, spearheaded the takeover of DoubleClick, an Internet ad-serving company, in 2007, he ordered its staff to be reduced by 40 percent. Deciding whom to let go, DoubleClick naturally turned its eye towards redundancies. The fact that the company had a search engine operation obviously made employees working on that team vulnerable. But moving past those cuts, DoubleClick, in concert with Google, conducted an internal check to see if the potentially new Googleites measured up to the company's standards. And while many did make the grade, members of the software engineer team were not deemed to have what it takes to hack it in Mountain View.
Those waiting on edge at the Illinois-based 80-year old telecommunications giant may, however, have greater reason to rest at ease. Unlike DoubleClick and its natural redundancies, the integration with Motorola might present melding two staffs characterized more by dissimilarity than anything else. Moreover, it's worth keeping in mind Google's strategy. As Nicholas Thompson of The New Yorker reports, "Google doesn't want to do what Motorola Mobility does (sell phones); it wants the company because it's got a big heap of patents--seventeen thousand, apparently, with seven thousand more under review."
A bid for intellectual property by definition poses less of an existential threat than would an expressed desire to mix it up in the ground game of phone sales. Indeed, as the Chicago Tribune notes, Google CEO Larry Page has noted he sees Motorola staying as an "independent business." In fact, Motorola employees may be in line for an upgrade in terms of employee satisfaction. According to surveys compiled by glassdoor.com, Google employees rank their company 3.9 on a 5-point scale, which represents a full point higher than Motorola's performance.
If Google has made anything clear over its history, it is the company's desire to stay at the top across the ever-changing digital sector. It even took on upstart Facebook in the realm of social media with the launch earlier this summer of Google+. Where it goes with Motorola remains to be seen, but, as Thompson alludes to, there's one group of workers sure to benefit. Above and beyond the normal process of an acquisition, Google will surely cede no ground in the ongoing patent wars in the mobile-computing industry. That means plenty of work for lawyers.
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Dan Fastenberg was most recently a reporter with TIME Magazine. Previously, he was a writer for the Thomson Reuters news service's Latin America desk. He was also a reporter and associate editor for the Buenos Aires Herald while living in South America.
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