In fact it is the patents that Google wanted. Even though it is possible that Google will launch new products that compete with other manufacturers, it is in their best interest to keep Android open ... And in any case they have no choice. The GNU licence is worded in such a way that it is almost impossible to fold it into a proprietary product.
This year Apple has started to throw its' weight around, threatening companies like HTC and Samsung with patent litigation. Apple might be quick to reach for their lawyers with patent light midgets like HTC and Samsung, but you can be sure that they would tip-toe cautiously around patent super-powers like Microsoft and Motorola, who would have the capability to respond with similar litigation and with devastating force.
Sadly, due to the parlous state of patent law in the USA, technology companies must spend a lot of money on gathering a portfolio of software patents for the purpose of intimidating rivals or as a threat of counter-action. If the portfolio of patents is large enough it is possible to mount a huge number of counter claims. Such a defence is similar to the insane logic of "mutually assured destruction" that was used during the cold war era. And patent bullies such as Apple understand the threat ... "Mess with us and you risk Patent Armageddon!"
With the purchase of Motorola's arsenal of mobile patents, Google can now afford to tread softly because they carry a big stick, and other patent super-powers should tread just as softly.
How this plays out with other Android manufacturers (such as Samsung) remains to be seen.
To date Apple seem bent on pursuing Samsung in every court in the world. Recently Reuters reported that Apple have filed a suit with the Tokyo district court seeking suspension of sales of the Galaxy Tab.
A recent study run by Deakin University shows that consumers generally feel over-whelmed, frustrated and dismayed by the experience of purchasing a new smartphone. Apparently most of the negative sentiment is directed at Telcos, who present consumers with confusing contracts that are difficult to comprehend or to compare with each other. According to the ABC news site, although most participants began their search feeling in a positive frame of mind, they became more disheartened the longer they spent looking for a phone.
None of which is surprising, considering the long list of studies and consumer reports which lead to the conclusion that Australian Telcos offer comparatively inferior service whilst charging higher prices than Telcos in other countries.
Curiously enough however, a recent analysis by Google and IPSOS Research reveals that Australia is now one of the leading markets for smart phone ownership. The analysis which was carried out in 30 different countries reveals that Australia is second only to Singapore in smart-phone ownership.