updated 07:05 pm EST, Tue January 31, 2012
Google may put own man at Motorola lead
An as yet unconfirmed rumor floating around Google suggests that the company's chief business officer and senior VP Nikesh Arora would take effective control of Motorola should its proposed takeover be approved. The tip to Business Insider had Arora "agitating" for a CEO role at some level ever since Larry Page took over from Eric Schmidt last spring. The jump would possibly be a way to calm that friction before Arora risked jumping to a competitor.
Google's US sales lead Dennis Woodside would take over Arora's position if this happened, according to the tip.
Neither Google nor Motorola has commented on the rumor.
Such a claim is uncorroborated, but if true would have major ramifications for the merger. Google has repeatedly sworn that it would keep Motorola at a distance to avoid alienating Android partners. Having a Google executive directly control Motorola would contradict that, as he would be dictating the top-level direction of the hardware builder and would have a clear incentive to prioritize its support over that of HTC, Samsung, or anyone else.
Also calling the rumor into some question is the lack of an explanation for what would happen to current Motorola CEO Sanjay Jha. He hasn't signaled a clear indication of whether he will stay or leave post-merger, but he has been adamant that Motorola "differentiate" with custom Android interfaces that would be antithetical to Google's use of the stock OS on its own devices.
Even so, Google chairman Eric Schmidt has admitted that Google bought Motorola for the hardware too and may have a hard time resisting at least some changes to the phone designer.