Dennis Woodside is Motorola Mobility’s new chief. On a fairly shallow level, Woodside’s selection might be quite puzzling considering the company he is heading. He has never handled a hardware project. His resume does not include any mobile or consumer electronics jobs. He is neither a telecommunications expert, supply chain manager, designer, or engineer. Instead, Woodside is a lawyer by training who has overseen Google’s massive growth in advertising. He has overseen ad revenue growth by billions of dollars through ad operations in over 30 countries. Given his background, what does Woodside bring to the table for one of the planet’s most recognized and established mobile phone manufacturers? Simply put, he might be instrumental in Google’s drive to dominate mobile ad delivery.
Woodside has solid experience growing Google’s overseas revenue. He also has experience integrating companies. He knows the search giant’s ad business inside and out. He has successfully launched ad products in the past. Put these all together and Woodside just might be Google’s “go to guy” for the very crucial objective of making money, lots of money, off ads shown on mobile devices. Woodside has his work cut out for him. Not only has Google been unable to crack the tough mobile ad market, its rivals Microsoft,Facebook, and Apple (among many others) have so far failed to thoroughly monetize this fast-growing ad market.
Google currently makes money from mobile but it is not from Android. It is from online searches made on the iPhone. Android ad revenue has, for all intents and purposes, been AWOL so far. Google invested huge sums in Android but it is not functioning as an ad platform. Google’s still working off Adwords in the mobile space. Woodside’s placement at Motorola Mobility, given his skill sets and experience listed above, is probably to transform Android into a mobile ad platform independent of Adwords. Motorola already knows how to design and build world class mobile phones. Now it is being led by someone who has the background to convert that platform competence into ad competence. Can he deliver? We’ll know soon enough. If Woodside succeeds, not only will this benefit Google but also provide a monetization model for the rest of Google’s mobile competitors. Keep your eyes on Motorola Mobility.