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Marketplace Morning Report

Google’s shopping spree is more about patents than phones

Marketplace Staff Aug 15, 2011
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STEVE CHIOTAKIS: Just like the people who use its product, Google’s been doing a search of its own, looking for a way to expand its reach into the cell phone world. Today, it said it will buy handset maker Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion.

Marketplace Tech Report host John Moe is with us now to talk about this big deal between Google and Motorola. Good morning, John.

JOHN MOE: Hey, Steve.

CHIOTAKIS: Why is Google doing this?

MOE: It’s all about patents. You have a space where a lot of products from a lot of companies are very similar. Think about smart phones and tablets. They look alike. And the space is very competitive. And all these companies are either suing each other or thinking about suing each other and trying to get a leg up. Now recently Apple outbid Google and others for about 1,000 patents that Nortel was selling after going bankrupt. And Motorola had 17,000 patents, so just imagine how delicious that looked to Google. It’s like, in all these litigation wars, it’s like having two or three more rows of pawns on the chess board.

CHIOTAKIS: How does this affect me as a consumer — playing chess, John?

MOE: Well, I don’t think Google wants it to. In Google’s mind, very little will change, it just has more muscle. It has more companies selling android devices. It already says Motorola will function independently — take that with however many grains of salt you wish. Some other handset makers have already said this morning that they support the deal because Google will help them in lawsuits. HTC and Samsung are being sued by Apple — and I guess it feels better having Google muscle backing you up than patents owned by a competitor.

CHIOTAKIS: All right, Marketplace Tech Report host John Moe with us this morning talking about the big deal. John, thank you.

MOE: Thanks, Steve.

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