Many pixels have already been wasted this week on analysis of what Thursday's release of the new Moto X phone from the Google-owned Motorola Mobility means — for the future of Android, the battle between Google and Apple, and a potential battle between Google and Samsung.
Moto X, is the first Android smartphone from the Motorola subsidiary of Google that was designed and brought to market after Google closed its $12.5 billion acquisition of the mobile company in May 2012. Since Google controls Android and now controls the handset, this would make Moto X, theoretically at least, the most Android-savvy phone yet.
But as with the release of Chromecast for TVs last week, Moto X isn't really about Google against any particular rival. Rather, it's about Google vs. any company that could -- now or in the future -- create a distribution choke point between Google and consumers who see its advertising.
(Read more: Why Google's $35 Chromecast isn't an Apple killer...yet )
If there's one thing Google management has recognized from the beginning, it's that they're running a media company, not a technology company — 85% of their total revenue, after all, comes from advertising. And media companies, especially digital media companies, face unique distribution challenges: the operating system, the browser and the way you connect to the Internet are all potential spots where barriers could be thrown up between the product. In Google's case, this includes Search, Maps and YouTube, for starters.
That's why the prime Google strategic goal -- to the extent it has one -- has been to eliminate those barriers, or at the very least diminish the chance that any single business opponent could choke off its access to Internet users.