Companies get bought and sold all the time, with and without our approval (or lack of expertise).
It's easy to be a skeptic. Skepticism is safe. It's a warm blanket of knowing that if shit indeed happens (and it will, from time to time), then you were right, it went bad, and you can tell everyone so. And if you're wrong and the world doesn't end, well, that's fine, too. Because who doesn't love a happy ending? Skepticism is a win-win for the skeptic, and a bore for the optimist.
And this quickly rang true Monday when Google announced it was buying Nest for $3.2 billion. Obvious jokes were obvious. Watch a 30-second ad before adjusting the temperature. Join Google+ to turn on your heat. Funny, but obvious. And not really helpful.
And it's almost like Google can't drop $3.2 billion without everyone becoming an expert on what it all means, hashed out in mere hours. Google bought Nest for the data. (Duh.) It bought Nest because [email protected] never got off the ground. (Again, duh.) Google bought Nest because it wants to know everything it possibly can about you. (No kidding?) And probably it bought Nest because there are ridiculously smart people working there.
So why is that a problem?
You can't see much when you're cowering under the covers
As Rene notes at iMore, it's easy to fear what you don't understand. And, no, Google doesn't always get things right. Google Wave was a mess. Buzz was a nightmare. Google+ is being pushed really hard, but understandably so. This Google+/Gmail thing from last week makes us uncomfortable, but neither is it that big a deal. Those are all Google software initiatives, though. Not hardware.
It's not all that difficult to take shots at Google's hardware, of course. The Nexus Q, sexy as it might have been, was DOA. Chrome OS is out there, but ... it's weird. Google Glass is still perplexing, but wonderfully so.
We're inventing problems with Google buying Nest when — we're all of 48 hours into it at this point, folks — so far there are are none. Zero. (And, by the way, the deal still has to be approved by federal regulators.)
Google says Nest will be run as a separate company, "with its own distinct brand identity." Nest also says it'll still be Nest. (And it does so borrowing some of the same language, which isn't much of a surprise.) From its blog post Monday:
Nest will continue to be Nest, with its own distinct brand identity. We will continue to reimagine and reinvent the unloved products that proliferate in our homes, just as we have since we started. We are simply going to get our products into the hands of people around the world – faster.
Motorola might not be profitable yet, but it's hardly withered and died (and it's making great phones)
And we have good reason to believe that will be the case. Look at Motorola. When that acquisition was first announced more than two years ago, fear of a Motorola planet swiftly emerged. The death of the Nexus was nigh, we all worried, with Motorola emerging as Google's favorite son. That has hardly happened, with Moto just now putting out its first post-acquisition phones, the Moto X and Moto G. And we're excited about both of those for any number of reasons.
Or step outside Google if you'd like. The Aviate launcher just got bought by Yahoo (purportedly for $80 million), and immediately there were cries of "Uninstalling!" Why? Aviate is so early in its lifespan to predict how and where it was going to end up anyway. Or take Instagram. Facebook is the company with serious trust issues that we just can't quit. But Instagram hasn't become and unusable product in the couple years since Faceook bought it. Or the same for Vine after it was swallowed by Twitter.
Let's all get the initial freak-outs out of our system and give Nest and Google a real chance to make our lives more interesting.
And you know what? Maybe we're a little safer because of Google's missteps, how that it's getting an independent audit of its privacy features every couple years.
Motorola was (and is) a long-term play for Google. Google knows it's not going to be profitable for some time. That's not the point. Google knows exactly what it bought in Nest, and it probably has a pretty good idea of the direction it wants to go with it — as well as the direction it wants Nest to take it. You can either get on board and enjoy the ride, or cower in the corner and wait for something bad to happen.
I, for one, am excited to have swapped out a perfectly functional Honeywell thermostat for the Nest, never mind who just bought the company.