《经济学人》:谷歌收购摩托罗拉
日期:2011-08-25 10:52

(单词翻译:单击)

Google’s takeover of Motorola Mobility

Google收购摩托罗拉移动部分

Patently different

截然不同

The battle in the mobile industry takes an unexpected turn
移动通信行业之争出现意外转折

Aug 20th 2011 | from the print edition

WHEN smartphones were still young and computing tablets not yet born, some analysts predicted that the market for mobile devices would sooner or later look much like that for personal computers (PCs): there would be a clear division of labour and intellectual property between makers of hardware and software; a dominant operating system would emerge; and Apple would again become a niche player.

在智能手机初现江湖、平板电脑尚未问世之时,有些分析人士就预言移动通信设备市场迟早会变得和个人电脑PC市场一样:软硬件制造商之间分工明确,拥有各自的知识产权;有一个操作系统会一统江湖;而苹果将再次扮演只做特定群体买卖的角色。

If proof is still needed, Google’s takeover of Motorola Mobility is the strongest sign yet that this will not come to pass, at least in the near future. On the contrary, the mobile-device industry will bear a closer resemblance to its other parent: the market for old-fashioned, voice-only handsets.

不过至少在短期内,这一预言是不会成真了,假如你一定要我给个证据,Google收购摩托罗拉就是最有力的证明。相反,移动设备行业的市场状况倒是会与它的另一位生父更为相似,那就是:只有通话功能的老式手机。

Start with intellectual property. In contrast with PC makers, firms in the telecoms industry have long fought over patents. If such disputes are even more common over today’s mobile devices (see article), it is because they are exceedingly complex and based on intellectual property from many different industries.

先从知识产权说起。与PC制造商相比,电信企业对专利的争夺由来已久,而由于移动设备极其复杂,其知识产权来源于各行各业,知识产权纠纷在今时今日会变得更为普遍。

Gaining control of Motorola’s big patent portfolio will provide Google with ammunition in the ongoing battle between mobile platforms. Android, Google’s operating system for smartphones and other devices, has taken the world by storm. Its global market share is approaching 50% (see chart). Yet Apple and Microsoft have found a way to slow down, and even benefit from Android’s advance: going after makers of smartphones running Android for patent infringements.

将摩托罗拉庞大的专利网收入囊中,这为Google参与激战正酣的移动平台争夺战提供了弹药。Google开发的智能手机及移动设备操作系统安卓Android正席卷全球。其全球市场份额正接近50%(见下图)。不过苹果和微软找到了应对之策,这两家公司甚至还从安卓的发展中受益:状告安卓智能手机制造商专利侵权。

This tactic has put a price on Android, which Google gives away free. In early 2010 HTC, a leading vendor of Android devices, agreed to pay royalties to Microsoft for the use of its patents. And in July Apple won a legal victory against HTC which could lead to even higher payments.

安卓本由Google免费发布,但两家公司的这一策略给安卓系统标上了价码。2010年初,安卓设备头号供应商HTC同意向微软支付专利费,同年7月,苹果打赢了与HTC的官司,这会让HTC支付更高的费用。

Google’s acquisition also illustrates the second difference between the markets for PCs and mobile devices: the latter will be more vertically integrated. Apple’s big advantage is controlling all parts of its products, from the user interface to the processor. It is thus able to fine-tune them, for instance to keep power consumption low or make touch screens react faster. Most devices powered by Android are not as highly optimised—which helps to explain why Android tablets, for instance, have yet to catch up with Apple’s iPad.

Google的收购还阐明了PC市场与移动设备市场的第二个不同之处:后者更倾向于垂直整合。苹果的主要优势在于它控制着产品的一切,从用户界面到处理器。因此,苹果可以精细调整其产品,比如保持低耗电量或让触屏反应更迅速。而大部分安卓设备则做不到如此高度的优化,以安卓平板电脑为例,这也许就是它还赶不上苹果iPad的原因。

Owning a handset-maker allows Google to better integrate software and hardware. At the same time, the firm cannot copy Apple’s model completely. If it is seen to favour Motorola’s products, other device makers might abandon Android. This would defeat the operating system’s purpose: making sure that Google’s services—and thus its lucrative advertisements—make it onto as many mobile displays as possible. When Google’s bosses announced the merger, they took great care to explain that they would run Motorola as a separate business and not change the way in which Android was managed.

拥有一家手机制造企业可以让Google更好地整合软件和硬件,同时,也不能完全照搬苹果的模式。如果其他设备制造商认为安卓偏向于摩托罗拉的产品,也许就会弃安卓而去。这有违该操作系统的初衷:务必让Google的服务尽可能多地出现在移动设备上,从而为其带来利润丰厚的广告业务。Google的老板在宣布这次收购时,就极力澄清说摩托罗拉会单独运作,他们不会改变安卓的管理模式。

Carolina Milanesi of Gartner, a market-research firm, expects Google to use Motorola to build benchmark models for Android devices to help others improve their products. The industry is moving towards a similar set-up. As part of a co-operation agreement with Nokia, Microsoft is using the Finnish company as its hardware-maker of reference.

市场研究公司Gartner的卡罗琳娜 米拉内西Carolina Milanesi估计,Google会用摩托罗拉打造一个安卓设备的标准模板,以帮助其他制造商改进各自的产品。移动行业正逐步走向标准化,微软已与诺基亚达成合作协议,所有硬件制造商的产品都以这家芬兰公司的硬件为准。

Third, it is unlikely that one firm will ever dominate the mobile industry as much as Microsoft did in PCs—because the most powerful companies will do almost anything to keep this from happening, says Ben Wood of CCS Insight, another research firm. Just like Google, they will spend billions to stay in the race. And wireless operators have let it be known that they are already unhappy with the current duopoly of Android and Apple. They will certainly push Nokia’s new Windows phones once they hit the market later this year or early next.

第三个不同,用另一家市场研究公司CCS Insight本 伍德Ben Wood的话来说,就是在移动行业中,不大可能有公司像微软在PC市场那样长期独家垄断,因为各大公司会竭力阻止发生这种情况。比如Google就将花费数十亿美元来保持竞争力。而无线运营商已经公开表示,他们对目前安卓和苹果两家争霸的局面感到不满,一旦诺基亚的Windows phones手机在今年或明年年初上市,他们肯定会助其一臂之力。

All of which means Google’s acquisition is unlikely to be the last deal of its kind. Other American technology giants have plenty of cash—and a need to strengthen their mobile stature, says Mr Wood. Even Amazon, an online shopping giant, may feel the urge to splash out and buy, perhaps, Sony-Ericsson, which like Motorola seems too small to make it on its own. The battle for supremacy in the mobile industry has only just begun.

所有这些,都意味着Google的收购不会是此类收购的最后一桩。伍德先生说,美国还有些腰缠万贯的技术巨头想要提高他们在移动行业的声望。甚至连网购业巨头亚马逊也迫不及待地想进来,它可能会收购索尼爱立信,这家公司与摩托罗拉一样,已经萎缩到无法支撑下去。争夺移动行业霸权的战斗才刚刚开始。

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重点单词
  • unlikelyadj. 不太可能的
  • intellectualn. 知识份子,凭理智做事者 adj. 智力的,聪明的
  • insightn. 洞察力
  • emergevi. 浮现,(由某种状态)脱出,(事实)显现出来
  • contraryadj. 相反的,截然不同的 adv. 相反(地) n.
  • resemblancen. 相像,相似
  • dominatev. 支配,占优势,俯视
  • globaladj. 全球性的,全世界的,球状的,全局的
  • defeatn. 败北,挫败 vt. 战胜,击败
  • supremacyn. 至高,主权,最高权力或地位