Over the last 10 years, with five different cable companies I have had a cable box, and until only recently the only option has been Motorola boxes. Up to this point it could easily be argued that Google TV has been lackluster, at best. We have seen both Logitech and Sony drop prices on their current offerings in recent weeks.
With the purchase of Motorola, Google has an opportunity to get Google TV into millions of homes. Instead of an additional purchase of YET ANOTHER device it is possible that they could easily piggyback on the existing relationships Motorola already has.
I think the three most important aspects would be:
1) No additional purchases. Instead of the need to convince consumers to go out and purchase these devices they will be available at no additional cost to consumers. I know all too many people who would have been willing to try out Google TV – only if they did not have to go and spend a significant portion of money to do so. Other people just weren’t sold on it. Those who were not sold on it generally were also those who either found cable companies set top boxes to be annoying or had avoided them for years. Those people are the same who would just learn to adapt, eventually.
2) If the User Interface was uniform across the entire experience. If built from the ground up and is easy to read, understand, and operate, it would go a long way towards adoption. Now, I’m not knocking Google TV on this, but ALL set top boxes that I have used have been meh, at best. If the guide, search, and all features, DVR, On Demand, and menus look and function as a cohesive experience they will have already added value.
3) Regarding the cable companies – what is in it for them? Google and Motorola would be foolish to believe that they could just add Google TV to the boxes and the cable providers would just accept this. Google must throw them a bone – split advertising revenue with them. If ads are clicked while the customer is in the guide that money goes to the cable providers. If the ad is clicked while searching the internet it goes to Google. Or just do a 50/50 split. Google announced during it’s earnings call that it’s income from revenue is up sharply, why? Simple, targeted ads. Google gains from the split with the cable providers because it’s able to more effectively target the users. It’s a win/win for all parties.
MG Siegler over at TechCrunch tends to agree with this thought as well, his post is here
Motorola could help Google turn around the disaster that has been Google TV. Motorola makes a huge percentage of the set top boxes that the cable companies use to push their over-priced content at you. And those cable boxes are absolute pieces of shit. But they’re highly profitable pieces of shit. While Google TV is a nightmare, it’s still a considerable upgrade from almost all set top boxes. The two sides could help each other here.