Google Takes Aim

Will its big Motorola deal lead to phones that rival Apple's?

Photo-Illustration by Tamara Shopsin and Jason Fulford for TIME

Apple designs its gadgets' hardware and software. Google wants to do the same

Since 2008, Google has given away its Android operating system to entice gadgetmakers to build products around it. Dozens of manufacturers of mobile devices have done so enthusiastically, releasing hundreds of Android products. It's a radically different strategy from that of Apple, which designs the iPhone's software, hardware and services itself — a philosophy that Steve Jobs has called owning "the whole widget."

But with the Aug. 15 announcement that Google is buying hardwaremaker Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion — by far Google's biggest acquisition — the search-engine giant declared that it intends to get into the widget business. If the...

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