Rampant rumors were verified today by Google, as the Internet search giant confirmed that it is selling the hardware component of Motorola Mobility.

The buyer is Lenovo, which is coughing up $2.91 billion for the acquisition. It should be noted that Google will retain an enormous number of patents first acquired when Google took possession of Motorola.

"Lenovo has the expertise and track record to scale Motorola into a major player within the Android ecosystem," says Larry Page, Google's CEO. "They have a lot of experience in hardware, and they have global reach. In addition, Lenovo intends to keep Motorola’s distinct brand identity—just as they did when they acquired ThinkPad from IBM in 2005. Google will retain the vast majority of Motorola’s patents, which we will continue to use to defend the entire Android ecosystem."

Selling a major portion of the business would be a concession of defeat for Google and particularly for Mr. Page. Motorola has continued to bleed money, aggravating shareholders and stock analysts, and its new flagship phone, the Moto X, did not sell as well as expected.
By Page's own admission, the deal has yet to be approved in the U.S. or China, "and this usually takes time."

Sources: Google, NYT