Is This All About Grabbing Patents?
We reported on the Nortel patent auction last month. Apple and Microsoft (and a few others) joined forces to win with a bid of $4.5 billion for more than 6,000 patents. The big loser in the bidding war was Google.
This led to renewed speculation about further lawsuits related to the licensing of the Android platform. Basically companies like Microsoft are suing manufacturers like Samsung trying to secure licensing deals that force the manufacturers to pay out for every Android handset they ship. This leads to a rather bizarre situation where Microsoft could actually end up making more cash from Android’s success than Google because of their patent portfolio.
Comments from Google were quick to suggest a conspiracy against Android.
Having missed out on the Nortel patents it was obvious that Google had to have some plan in order to safeguard the future of the Android platform. The acquisition of Motorola Mobility might just be it because they hold around 17,000 patents and they have another 7,500 pending. In fact, just a few days ago, the CEO of Motorola, Sanjay Jha, suggested that the company would be looking to capitalize on their IP portfolio.
This acquisition will certainly strengthen Google’s patent defense. It won’t stop the lawsuits but it might lead to a kind of stalemate in the courts as the big guns sue and counter-sue and the only real winners are the lawyers.
There’s no doubt the patents are a big part of this deal, but surely there’s more to it?