Rumor: Signs point to in-house Motorola OS development

Motorola XoomDespite protests that it’s completely happy with Android, rumors that have been brewing for quite some time reaffirm that Motorola is heavily considering creating its own Web-based OS. According to Information Week, Motorola is busy recruiting and hiring engineers from seasoned companies like Adobe and Apple to create an alternative to Android. Of course, Motorola won’t directly comment on the speculation except that to say courtesy of spokeswoman Kira Golin that “Motorola Mobility is committed to Android. That’s our statement, and I can’t control how you interpret or print it.” Motorola currently produces Android handsets with its own Motoblur UI layered over the OS.

According to the report, analyst Jonathon Goldberg with Deutsche Bank says otherwise. “I know they’re working on it. I think the company recognizes that they need to differentiate and they need options, just in case. Nobody wants to rely on a single supplier.” Combine this insight with the fact that the company has acquired some big names in the Web and OS development field and it seems like there could definitely be some truth to these rumors.

Which raises the question, why? Aside from insider information and Goldberg’s musings, we’ve got to ask why Motorola would be going this route right now. The Xoom, the first device to feature Android’s Honeycomb OS, is making a name for itself in the tablet market. Not to mention the fact that Android smartphones have largely been profitable and popular for Motorola. But apparently Android’s infrastructure isn’t exactly jiving with the company. A “person familiar with Motorola’s plans” told Information Week that “Google is shooting itself in the foot” with its product differentiation and fragmentation issues.

But keep in mind Motorola formerly worked with a variety of operating systems, Symbian and Windows Mobile included. Maybe the company feels it’s become something of a one trick-Android-pony. CEO Sanjay Jha said during a 2010 earnings call that he feels “owning your OS is important” and that at some point, Motorola would want to go this route. There’s also the fact that Motorola’s WebTop application introduced with the Atrix has some very Web OS features about it.

One thing’s for sure: Wheels are turning over at Motorola, and despite any “commitment” to Android, it certainly sounds like we’re due for another OS competitor — which is always a good thing for consumers.

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