Google, Motorola Mobility deal gets US, EU approval
Deal gives Google control of 17,000 smartphone patents
TechTrade | 14 Feb 2012 :
The US Department of Justice (DoJ) and the EU have approved Google's acquisition of mobile-phone and tablet maker Motorola Mobility for about $12.5 billion. Google is still waiting for approvals from China, Israel and Taiwan before the deal is final. Canada's investigation is also ongoing. The search giant still says it hopes the acquisition will close in "early 2012."
The DoJ on Monday also approved bids by Apple, Microsoft and Research in Motion (RIM) to purchase some Nortel Networks patents, as well as Apple's purchase of some Novell patents.
The DoJ's Antitrust Division determined that "each acquisition is unlikely to substantially lessen competition," the agency said in a press release.
The deal faced strong opposition from open source and consumer rights advocates, but the European Commission announced on Monday that the acquisition could go ahead, without conditions.
By buying Motorola Mobility, Google will gain control of around 17,000 smartphone patents, including standard essential patents, but the Commission approved the transaction after its investigation showed that it would not significantly change the market situation in respect of operating systems and patents for smartphones.
Essential patents, such as 3G or GSM (global system for mobile communications), are those which are required in order for smartphones to operate according to developed industry standards. Because they are crucial for all market players, standard-setting organisations require the holders of standard essential patents to license them to any interested third parties on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms. The European Commission also expects strict adherence to FRAND principles.
The approval news comes as Apple, Microsoft, Google and Samsung struggle for dominance with countless court cases currently ongoing over alleged patent violations. Google's Android smartphone operating system dominates the mobile market with a 38% share compared to Apple iPhone's 27%.
Google announced its agreement to acquire Motorola Mobility, including 17,000 patents and 6,800 applications, in August.
IDG News Service