Just how much did Google (GOOG) overpay for Motorola Mobility when it agreed to buy the phone maker for $12.5 billion in 2011 Shareholders will have to figure that out after Google announced on Wednesday that it is unloading the money-losing subsidiary on Chinese electronics maker Lenovo Group (0992.HK) for $2.9 billion.
Sure, Motorola had $3 billion of cash on its balance sheet when it was acquired and Google later sold a set-top box division for $2.4 billion. But that still leaves Google CEO Larry Page left to explain why he’s only getting $3 billion for the remaining net investment of $7 billion. “Patents,” he’d likely reply.
Analysts speculated all along that Google made the hasty deal only to get control of Motorola’s vast trove of about 17,000 patents. At the time, Apple (AAPL) and Microsoft (MSFT) appeared to be waging an intellectual property war to beat back the Android challenge. Many of those battles continue and intellectual property attorneys are split over whether the Motorola patents have helped Google much, if at all.
Still, Google said it would retain “the vast majority” of patents from Motorola in the sale to Lenovo.
A couple of days ago I bought two Lenovo G550 laptops – one for me, one for my wife. After spending a day browsing all the online shops and driving around all computer outlets in the city, I decided that this is the best option available.
Specifications: Dual-core 2Ghz Intel CPU, 15.6 inch glossy screen (WXGA, maximum resolution 1366×768), 4 GB of RAM, 250 GB hard disk, a bunch of USB ports, HDMI out, DVD writer, WiFi, and all the standard stuff, weighting at around 2.7 kilograms. Battery life is around 4 hours. Price: 500 EUR + 15% VAT = 575 EUR.
Both machines are running Linux (Fedora 12) already, even though they were coming with some Windows pre-installed. I wouldn’t know which one since I haven’t even booted into that once. Fedora Linux installation was straight-forward and everything worked, except for the wireless networking, which needs an extra step to enable those Broadcom drivers. Gladly, the required step is widely covered in the blogosphere. – basically, enable RPM Fusion yum repository, install kmod-wl package, and reboot your machine.
Everything is working find and I really enjoy the laptop, except for a few things that annoy me with its keyboard. The layout is somewhat weird. First of all, I am not used to having a number pad on a laptop keyboard. But that’s OK – if there is space, then why not, right? Well, there is space, but I think it would have been utilized better for Home, End, PgUp, and PgDn keys. As they are now, PgUp and PgDn are located next to navigation arrow keys and Home/End keys are only accessible through a Fn key, which is really strange. On top of that, Insert and Delete keys are in a different part of the keyboard – on top of the Backspace key. And while I don’t use Caps Lock all that often, some people will notice that Caps Lock indicator is missing, as well as NumLock and ScrollLock. What can I say? That’s one weird keyboard layout.
Other than that though there is nothing that I can complain about. The machine is nice and cool and pleasant to use. My wife seems to enjoy it as well.
As I mentioned a few days ago, I was looking for a new laptop. Well, I got one last week, and it’s an amazing Lenovo ThinkPad T61 machine. I am still playing with, learning it, and tweaking it, but I think I’m ready for the post now.
First things first. There weren’t much of an argument for or against each specific model that I found or that was suggested in the comments to my last post. I needed a machine pretty fast, and I was trying to arrange it in such a way so that I won’t pay for it out of my own pocket (my new employer is kind of cool for this sort of things).
Here are the specs for the tech savvy among you:
- 15.4″ widescreen form factor
- 2.1 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo CPU
- 2 GB RAM
- 150 GB HDD
- 3 USB ports
- some sort of DVD drive
- 1 Ethernet card, 1 WiFi card, and a whole bunch of other inputs and outputs
Installation process : I did a minimum installation of Fedora 8 from DVD, then copied over my home directory and other important files from my previous laptop, and then installed and upgraded all missing and outdated software. Most of the stuff worked like a charm and didn’t need any sweat.
Issues that I needed time to solve or haven’t solved yet:
- WiFi switch was off and it took me almost half an hour to figure out. That was probably due to a total lack of sleep though.
- Fedora 8 has this new pulse audio system, which takes a few steps to setup properly. I had to do this a few times before already, and every time this excellent guide was to the rescue.
- I still haven’t managed to configure suspend and hibernate functionality. It goes to sleep nicely, but either doesn’t wake up at all, or wakes up with some crucial functionality missing, such as network being totally lost. This is as well the most annoying thing that I miss right now. However, the whole of the Internet suggests that I am doing something wrong and that this stuff should just work.
- Very fast. This is my first multi-core machine, so I have to get used to it a bit. One thing that I am particularly glad is that it runs Quake 3 at 125 FPS easily. This is the first machine that I have that can do this.
- Widescreen is the way to go. (And here is the recent Slashdot story to confirm that.) It’s amazing how much difference that little extra space on the side makes. Watching a movie is more pleasurable. Working with images in Gimp is way more convenient. And now I can have a full window browser with a sidebar open, following my Twitter friends. Or an instant messenger window open nearby. Or I can have a really wide console window with plenty of code to scroll through (priceless for vimdiff mode).
- A little bit heavier than my previous machine. It’s a bit bigger too. But I don’t mind much.
- A little bit noisier than my previous machine. It feels like the fans are never off. However I suspect there is some great utility software out there to configure and control this.
Overall, it feels like a really nice piece of technology – well built and thoroughly thought out. I need to solve these few remaining issues and it will be a total pleasure to work with.