Google's relationship to Motorola is like Michael Corleone's relationship to his brother Fredo: You're stuck with him -- for now, anyway -- but you can't allow him to play an important role. So you make him into a nightclub promoter, giving him some money to spend. Hence the rumored fat marketing budget for the overpriced Moto X.
If Samsung got the slightest whiff that Google was giving special privilege to Motorola, it could trigger Samsung going on an all-out war against Google. That's something Google needs as much as another antitrust lawsuit, which is to say it needs to be avoided at all cost.
Make no mistake about it: Google is keeping Samsung fully briefed about what is going to happen with Motorola. Google can't afford Samsung feeling betrayed, which would result in a possible collapse of the Android ecosystem as we know it. Motorola is but a pawn in this shadow-boxing game, sort of like a Switzerland's role in World War 2 and the Cold War alike.
Or like Fredo Corleone.
Google's relationship with Samsung had started to crack in the year leading up to March 2013. By April, Google's leadership traveled to South Korea and something happened -- suddenly Google and Samsung were best friends.
Surely there were many pieces to such a peace deal, but assuring Samsung that Motorola wouldn't be used to hurt it materially was likely one component of this peace treaty.
Motorola is a decent device that's not priced to sell. That's by design.
At the time of publication the author was long GOOG, AAPL and QCOM.
This article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.