Google said to hire firm to explore Motorola Home sale

There's no confirmation from any of the involved parties, of course, but IPTV service providers are no doubt closely watching events unfold as Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) continues to find ways to get rid of its Motorola Home cable equipment business.

The latest report from Bloomberg indicates that Google has hired Barclays Plc to find a buyer for the unit which is the successor to cable industry duopoly giant General Instrument. The asking price, again according to sources who asked not to be identified, appears to be in the $2 billion range.

When Google bought the Motorola Mobility business, ostensibly for 17,000 or so mobile wireless patents, it got Motorola Home. At the time, it appeared that the search engine giant might make a go of the equipment business as a possible supplier to IPTV and cable operators and as a service provider itself, incorporating its Android OS into the Motorola boxes. Google Fiber, in Kansas City, however, put lie to that theory as Google the service provider was not also Google the set-top box supplier.

Now, it appears, the wheels are genuinely in motion for Google to pick away at the mobility business and give away--sell--the cable equipment business. Motorola's smartphones use Android but not exclusively, as Google continues to dominate the smartphone market ahead of archrival Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL) iPhone. It bought the Motorola Mobility unit after unsuccessfully bidding on Nortel patents that ultimately went to Apple, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) and Research in Motion (RIM).

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