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Motorola acquisition means Google gets 17,000 patents, 3 times Nortel’s

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So – Google has acquired Motorola’s mobile phone business for a whopping $12.5 billion. Things just got very interesting in the Google, Apple and Microsoft battle.

Last week, we wrote about how Android was under threat in an ongoing patent war with a number of companies – including Apple, Microsoft and Oracle. An obvious step by Google was to embed itself in the handset business, but it’s probably fair to say that not many people saw this acquisition coming. To say this news is huge would be somewhat of an understatement.

Android now has around half of the global smartphone market. And combined with iOS, Google and Apple account for over two-thirds of the smartphone market globally.

It’s easy to explain Android’s dominance. It’s a free, open-source platform, and thus can be used by any mobile phone manufacturer, just as the likes of HTC, Samsung, Acer, Sony Ericsson, LG and Motorola already do.

The patent war…

However, Microsoft in particular has been taking swipes at Google through targeting handset makers that use Android – it’s built on the Linux Kernel, which supposedly infringes multiple patents owned by Microsoft. As such, companies such as HTC – which uses Android on many of its handsets – must pay Microsoft for each handset it sells with that operating system installed.

And in recent times, it seems the battle for supremacy has descended into simple patent acquisition to get one-up on rivals. CPTN Holdings is a consortium of technology companies that include Microsoft, Apple, Oracle and EMC Corporation. It secured a portfolio of 882 patents from Novell when it was acquired by Attachmate. Then there’s the Rockstar consortium, which also has Apple and Microsoft as members, and it recently won the auction of 6,000 patents/patent applications from Canadian telecoms company Nortel.

Google too has been engaging in similar patent-acquiring activities, recently securing over a thousand patents from IBM.

But news that Google has acquired Motorola Mobility means that besides now adding a mobile phone company to its repertoire, it also owns many, many patents.

The whole story via Motorola acquisition means Google gets 17,000 patents, 3 times Nortel’s.

Written by Kees Winkel

August 16, 2011 at 10:13

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