updated 02:30 pm EDT, Wed March 23, 2011
Motorola said poaching Apple, Adobe to make own OS
Motorola is quietly building a team to develop its own mobile OS and get away from its heavy dependence on Android, an insider said late Tuesday. Engineers have supposedly been quietly poached from Adobe and Apple over the past nine months. One of them, software engineering VP Gilles Drieu, headed Apple's rich media and apps group, and was important to Apple participating in web standards groups like the W3C, InformationWeek found out.
Neither Motorola nor its recent hires would comment on the rumor.
Officially, Motorola has publicly turned down Windows Phone as an alternative but has also said that it wouldn't want to have an OS of its own without a full ecosystem. Recent acquisitions might support talk of a web-focused OS, however, such as web app supporter 280 North and ZumoDrive creator Zecter for its cloud storage. Mobile security firm 3LM could play a role in keeping it secure.
The strategy could be at least a partial slap at Android and a worry from Motorola that it's getting too close to Google. Every smartphone the company makes is Android-based, and the platform itself makes up an increasing portion of its sales. Any drop-off in interest for Android, such as after the Verizon iPhone, could create a problem across the entire company. Microsoft's lawsuit against Motorola for Android patents may have also pushed it to create its own OS and prevent the worst if a trade ban blocks imports of Android phones.
Few companies make their own OS, but those that do and are skilled at it, such as Apple and RIM, have usually been the more successful in the phone market.