Today’s big news is Google’s acquisition of Motorola Mobility. What is fascinating is the logic for the deal. This is not a deal driven by customers or operating synergies – it is all about Motorola’s patents.
The give-away is the final paragraph of Google’s announcement:
“We recently explained how companies including Microsoft and Apple are banding together in anti-competitive patent attacks on Android. The U.S. Department of Justice had to intervene in the results of one recent patent auction to “protect competition and innovation in the open source software community” and it is currently looking into the results of the Nortel auction. Our acquisition of Motorola will increase competition by strengthening Google’s patent portfolio, which will enable us to better protect Android from anti-competitive threats from Microsoft, Apple and other companies.” – Google
Having failed to acquire Nortel’s patents, this move is all about positioning Google for a series of multi-jurisdictional patent claims and counter-claims coupled with positioning for cross-licensing deals.
It remains to be seen what impact this will have on other parts of the mobile eco-system, but it may heralds the start of the more aggressive use of patents by technology companies – by way of example see Apple’s recent successful blocking of the launch of the Samsung Galaxy Tab in Europe as a result of a German court injunction.