Motorola debuted its new logo on Wednesday, and underneath the now lower case "motorola" corporate name is the tagline "a Google company," three words that carry profound significance for the future of mobile advertising and the smartphone market.
Motorola confirmed the logo change but did not comment on the strategy behind the new design.
Since acquiring Motorola in August 2011, Google has done its best to maintain its distance from the mobile phone manufacturer. Because Google's dominance of the mobile advertising industry is reliant upon smartphone manufacturers using its Android mobile operating system, any suggestion that it might provide Motorola with exclusive access to certain Android features would have undoubtedly upset those partnerships (and, in turn, its mobile ad business). Google had thus been careful not to closely associate itself with Motorola in order to prevent such disturbances and perceived conflicts of interest.
Until now, that is. Not only has Google inserted its name and signature typeface into Motorola's revamped logo, the new Motorola color scheme is more closely aligned with Google's technicolor trademark. Whereas Motorola's old logo featured an uppercase white "M" in the middle of a black circle (or vice versa), the new logo has a gray "M" in a white circle with a multicolored border. Motorola used to feature its name in all caps. It's now all lowercase.
Google finally putting its weight behind Motorola could potentially upset its lucrative partnership with Samsung. Samsung is the world's largest smartphone maker -- it had a 22% worldwide market share in 2012, according to eMarketer -- and its phones run on Android. Samsung's unprecedented global reach has helped cement Google's dominance of the mobile advertising business. In 2012, Google earned $4.61 billion in mobile advertising revenue worldwide, more than half (52.36%) of all worldwide mobile ad revenue, per eMarketer. Google is projected to extend that market share lead to 55.97% this year and earn $8.85 billion in worldwide mobile ad revenue.
Google's free Android operating system powers Samsung's phones, and Samsung's sales powers Google's mobile advertising business. By using its brand to boost the ailing Motorola, Google could complicate that relationship.
Motorola is set to debut several new mobile devices later this summer, but has not revealed details about the products or how they will be marketed. At least one of these products will be a high-end smart phone, Moto X meant to compete with Samsung and Apple phones.
Motorola's VP-strategic marketing Brian Wallace -- whom Google poached from Samsung at the end of last year -- will be leading the marketing charge for this slew of new devices.