Yesterday Google received a hi-five from the Justice Department, not to mention a good-old-fashioned handshake from European regulators, to go ahead with its purchase of Motorola Mobility. Simultaneously, all handset makers that don’t start with an “i” and end in a “phone” broke out in cold sweats and began babbling in fever-dream speak, because now Google has a big incentive to make Android integrate really, really nicely with Motorola phones while letting all others do their best with a generic version of the operating system.
Phones are nice, but really, we all know it’s not about the phones. Google wants patents, and the deal with Motorola makes Google look like a patent-munching Pac-Man. With the purchase Google gobbles up around 17,000 patents and an additional 7500 patent applications (power pellets?). Along with a blessing from regulators on both sides of the Atlantic, comes a warning: don’t gouge other companies when they try to license the patents. The Googs still has a few hurdles to clear before worldwide acceptance, the biggest being in China. Reuters reports: “Regulators in China have until March 20 to decide whether to approve the deal or start a third phase of review, according to a source close to the situation.”
Also on the docket... more patents!
As Politico reports, the DOJ “also paved the way for Apple, Microsoft and BlackBerry-maker RIM to purchase a trove of mobile phone patents.” And just like with Google, stern fingers were shaken at all the tech companies as a warning not to abuse their patent-holding power.