Google Shows Commitment to Motorola Mobility

We knew that Google was looking to move the headquarters of its newly acquired Motorola Mobility to downtown Chicago. But now we know precisely where and can take it as a sign that Google’s likely going to keep its smartphone company – at least for the duration of its 15-year lease agreement.

A Place to Call Home

Motorola Mobility will take the top four floors and the roof of the Merchandise Mart, a whopping 600,000 square feet. Over the next five years, Motorola will move employees from its suburban Libertyville location to its new downtown location at a cost projected to reach $300 million.

Crain’s Chicago Business says Motorola had considered moving its operations to Silicon Valley, but now only the senior executive team will be based in Sunnyvale, Calif.  That means Motorola’s product design leaders and most of its hardware engineers will be in Chicago. Google, meanwhile, will maintain separate Chicago offices nearby.

Crain’s had this to say about Motorola’s move to  the trendy River North neighborhood:

The job shift is the largest single employment influx for the city in many decades, and perhaps ever.

Motorola Mobility a Keeper – For Now

Google’s major relocation of Motorola’s headquarters implies it plans to keep the company intact, rather than spin off parts of its business, or the whole organization. Previously, Wall Street and Google watchers thought the Internet behemoth only wanted Motorola’s patent portfolio.

But the relocation cost alone suggests that Google wants to keep the company viable and increase its stature. Crain’s says Google executives haven’t indicated what they plan to do with the company, only that observers should “expect some changes.”

Google, says VentureBeat, told analysts last week that patents make up only $5.5 billion of the overall $12.4 billion it paid for Motorola Mobility. Since the deal closed in May, the new baby has racked up $233 million in operating losses for the new parent with just $1.25 billion in new revenue.

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